Prisoners will no longer be transported to Court houses; retrofitted containers to be established
See below full statement issued by the Office of the Attorney General:
The Government of Guyana, the Judiciary, the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Prisons Service are collaborating in a unique partnership to enhance the speedy hearings, trials and disposal of cases in the criminal justice system, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, which have placed severe restraint on the movement and gathering of persons in every endeavour.
Today, the team met at the Umana Yana and made a series of important decisions. The Government team is led by Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, and includes Minister Robeson Benn and a number of technical personnel from the National Data Management Authority. Representing the Judiciary are Chief Justice (ag) Roxanne George-Wiltshire, Justice Naresh Harnanan and Justice Brassington Reynolds. Assistant Commissioner of Police, Clifton Hickens, led a team from the Guyana Police Force and the Director of Prisons, Gladwin Sameuls, and his staff were present on behalf of the Guyana Prisons Service.
The principal objective of the engagement is to establish the required physical and technical infrastructure for criminal litigation to take place on virtual platforms. In this regard, a decision was
made to install retrofitted containers at prison locations situated at Camp Street, Georgetown; Lusignan, East Coast Demerara; New Amsterdam and Mazaruni. These containers will be air-conditioned and equipped with the necessary technical apparatus that will provide a link to the prisoners and the various Court house. Once implemented, this measure will obviate the need for prisoners to be transported physically out of the prisons and taken to the various Courts for their cases.
Another aspect of this project is to similarly equip identified Police Stations across the country, where defendants will appear at first hearings for the charges to be read to them and for them to enter their plea and to make any other relevant Applications.
Caribbean jurisdictions are already moving in this direction with Trinidad and Tobago being the most advanced. The team will use Trinidad and Tobago as the model to design Guyana’s system.