$177.3M Magistrate’s Court opens in Bartica
As Bartica celebrates its five-year anniversary of being declared a town, a $177.3M Magistrate’s Court was on Thursday commissioned in the Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) community to provide easier access to justice and other related services to citizens living in the interior and hinterland communities.
Since 1960, court hearings were held at the Bartica Police Station three days per month by a resident magistrate. Recognising that this was hindering access to justice and adding to the backlog in the criminal justice system, the previous APNU+AFC Government, in 2018, awarded a contract to M&P Investments for the construction of the court in Bartica.
The deadline for the contract was November 2019, however, due to unforeseen circumstances, the construction of the courthouse was delayed and was completed by A&E Consultant Inc.
The L-shaped complex, which stands erected at Mongrippa Hill, is fitted with a courthouse, living quarters for a magistrate, magistrate’s chambers, lawyers’ rooms, court registry, offices, domestic violence officer, living quarters for staffers, and other amenities.
Speaking at the commissioning was Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag), Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards, who explained that the court will be held weekly by resident Magistrate, Crystal Lambert.
The Chancellor added that the modern court is equipped with recording units among other technologies to provide “nothing but the best” for residents of Bartica. She further stressed that the Bartica Court will provide jobs for locals in the area.
She noted that the court will aid in the influx of trafficking in person cases reported by the police, which are coming for the interior and border region.
According to the Chancellor, the judiciary was allocated land at Timehri and Friendship, East Bank Demerara by the government to erect new courts.
Attorney-General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, SC, who also spoke at the opening, reaffirmed the government’s commitment to partnering with the judiciary to ensuring access to justice throughout Guyana.
He explained that the new modern court adds to the ongoing transformation in Guyana and has set the benchmark for other future court construction. The AG disclosed that works have commenced to develop courts located in Region 1 (Barima-Waini), and soon at Vigilance, East Demerara Coast Demerara in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica).
According to Nandlall, in every society in which there is elements of economic development, social progress, and prosperity it is key to have a justice system that is efficient, impartial and has public confidence.
Meanwhile, Mayor of Bartica, Gifford Marshall, explained that the building will aid the beatification of the regional landscape and economic development. He noted that the opening of the court comes at the right time since Bartica is currently celebrating it fifth year since being declared a town.