The University of Guyana will soon begin training prosecutors in an effort to strengthen the prosecutorial arm of the Guyana Police Force (GPF).
Attorney General Anil Nandlall on Monday disclosed that the procurement process is ongoing for a consultancy to develop the one-year course which will be offered to persons in possession of a Bachelor of Laws degree and practicing police prosecutors.
“We have decided to train persons who are in recipient of bachelors of law degree and have been unable to proceed to HWLS and who are in Guyana and want to join the program to conduct prosecution in the court along with and later independent of [the police],” Nandlall said at a press conference to deal with the justice reform programme funded by the Inter- American Development Bank (IDB).
He noted that those persons would be able to do a better jo than police officers who are thrown into the court room without full knowledge of the law.
The lack of trained prosecutors is continually blamed for less convictions.
Nandlall said the idea has received good feedback so far from persons with LLBs and once successful, there will be no shortage of prosecutors.
“We already have enough persons to staff each Magistrate court in the county from those who expressed an interest,” he said.
The Attorney General said trained prosecutors will be able to take advantage of the laws relating to alternative sentencing and provide better representation for victims in court.
He pointed out that the suspects are afforded the opportunity to hire the best lawyers while the State prosecutor in the person on a police officer are often times not trained.
Trained prosecutors will be able to take advantage of different provisions in the law for example plead bargaining arrangements which takes away the need for prolonged and protracted trials.
“We also have legislation that expedite prelim inquiries but these are not adequately exploited,” Nandlall added.
The course will be offered under a broader US$8M program funded by the IDB which seeks to help Guyana overcome prison overcrowding, by reducing pre-trial detentions and increasing the use of alternative sentencing, among other measures.
The loan’s objective is to contribute to the high concentrations of prison population in the country, which stands at 256 per 100,000 of national population, well above the world average of 146 per 100,000.