$143.5M Diamond/Grove Magistrates’ Court opens
President David Granger on Wednesday commissioned the first Diamond/Grove, East Bank Demerara Magistrates’ Court.
A total of $143.5M was expended on the construction of the court, which will provide easier access to justice for persons in the surrounding communities and also ease the caseload at the Providence Magistrate’s Court.
On the same day, the court was commissioned, Magistrate Rondell Weaver commenced sitting of court cases.
Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag), Justice Yonette Cummings Edwards pointed out that with an estimated 35,000 persons living in the expanded housing areas along the East Bank, it was necessary to provide better access to the judicial system.
The Providence Magistrate’s Court could not adequately provide for this expansion.
“Such increases in population and the legal needs that will attend to that increase in population could not escape us, cognizant of the demographic, a decision was taken to build a courthouse and we have seen the need to accommodate legal proceedings,” Justice Cummings said.
The Providence Magistrate’s Court will now become a specialized court that deals only with traffic matters; all other matters will be dealt with at the Diamond/Grove court.
The court comes with modern equipment and technology which includes facilities for differently-abled persons, a legal aid clinic, a domestic violence unit and holding facilities for prisoners.
“There are Skype equipment and court recording units for the taking of evidence, so no longer the longhand way of taking evidence; we have facilities for the differently-abled persons, a wheelchair ramp, an elevator, specially designed washrooms to accommodate wheelchair access and we will even designate parking in the compound,” Justice Cummings said.
Justice Cummings highlighted that the construction of the court began in March 2018 and while the contract had a duration of 12 months, delays were due to inclement weather and the contractor.
There are two courtrooms for two magistrates to enhance the delivery of justice.
President Granger said in his address that every citizen can benefit from the law if the services are accessible and noted that with 55 functional magistrates’ court being presided by a mere 23 magistrates across the country, the government is willing to elect adequate and abled magistrates to help in executing justice.
“This is much work for few hands. The Executive is willing to support the appointment of a sufficient number of magistrates so that courts could be manned adequately to ensure the timely dispensation of justice,” President Granger said.
The President said he is confident that the Diamond/Grove Magistrates’ Court will further improve the country’s system of justice administration.
Former Chancellor of the Judiciary Justice Carl Singh also attended the ceremony on Wednesday; he had procured the land for the construction of the court.
Also in attendance were Director of Public Prosecutions Shalimar Ali Hack, Commissioner of Police Leslie James, Director of Prisons Gladwin Samuels, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Basil Williams and members of the Guyana Bar Association along with judges and magistrates.