Upper Demerara Magisterial District opens in Linden
By Leroy Smith
As of next week, residents of Linden and those along Kwakwani in the Upper Demerara River will no longer need to travel to Vreed-en-Hoop on the West Coast of Demerara and to the West Coast of Berbice to deal with court matters.
The end of this practice comes as the Supreme Court of Guyana on Thursday commissioned the Upper Demerara River Magisterial District at the Linden Magistrate’s Court at Burnham Drive Wismar, Linden.
Magistrate Clive Nurse, who has been on the bench for some five years, will serve as the resident magistrate for the Upper Demerara River Magisterial District. This will see court sittings five days a week as against what obtained earlier where the court sat twice per week.
The move to bring the Upper Demerara River Magisterial District on stream commenced with former Chancellor of the Judiciary Justice Carl Singh who is now on pre retirement leave.
In her address today, acting Chancellor Justice Yonette Cummings- Edwards, CCH pointed out that the court will sit on the first and third Fridays of each month, as against once per month. The move is expected to address the burden that is usually placed on the Linden, Berbice and Vreed-en-Hoop Magistrate courts.
Child support, application for licenses, refunding of bail money and other basic legal services were among the issues persons were unable to conduct in Linden. The police also had to travel to Vreed-en-Hoop and Berbice to file cases. As it relates to prisoners in Linden, they had to be taken to courts in Berbice.
In the near future, there will also be a municipal court in Linden to deal with environmental issues; plans are also in place for a Children’s Court.
President of the Guyana Bar Association, Kamal Ramkarran said that the move welcome and has brought “Justice to Linden.”
Meanwhile, Magistrate Nurse expressed his satisfaction and pleasure of being asked to serve as the Resident Magistrate in the district. He told the gathering of legal minds and other officials that he is happy to serve the people of Linden with distinction.
President David Granger, who delivered the feature address, noted that access to justice is the foundation to a democratic nation and the hallmark of modern civilization. He reminded those gathered of the constitution which speaks of the State not denying anyone equality and equal protection and benefit of the law.
“When trust fails, the rule of law falters,” the President stated as he reminded also that the Magistrate Courts constitute the first tier of the justice system. The event was also attended by several judges, magistrates, lawyers and regional officials.