Long touted digitisation of records, extension & repairs underway at DPP Chambers
Although still closed to the general public in the aftermath of the November 2021 fire, repairs are well underway, new furnishing purchased and moves to digitise the records at the Chamber of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) are now in the pipeline.
Head of Communications Liz Rahaman spoke to the News Room on Wednesday and despite disruptions from ongoing construction, both internally and externally, she said the return to normalcy was slow but steadily becoming a reality.
Rahaman, who was part of the efforts to salvage records in the immediate days after the fire, was only able to move back into her office earlier this week but other employees, such as State Counsel, are still displaced.
“Some offices were drastically affected and still under construction but the DPP and her staff, we are slowing but steadily moving back into our daily functions,” Rahaman told the News Room.
She begged the public for their patience even as she now endures small disruptions from dust and freshly painted walls and floors. The phone lines to the Chamber remain functional.
“We are hoping that the general public understands that we are asking for their patience until we can become fully functional,” Rahaman said.
In addition to the ongoing construction which will eventually see an extension to the DPP Chambers, steps have been taken to digitise the records following an impassioned appeal from a frustrated DPP Shalimar Ali-Hack when the fire raged on November 20, 2021.
“Subsequent to the fire, the DPP Chambers received calls from partners who heard the DPP’s cry while the fire was raging and shortly after they approached us and DPP accepted and held a conversation.”
Rahaman said at least one international body reached out and they have already met with communication and information technology officials at the Chambers.
“Things are in the pipeline for the office to become digitised,” she assured on Wednesday. She is hopeful that in the 2022 budget, the government would further support those efforts.
In the absence of a digitised system on the day of the fire, Rahaman said while the majority of files were saved, a few were damaged and others are missing.
“Just a few files have gone missing but I’ve been reliably informed that those files are being reconstructed thankfully with the help of the Guyana Police Force,” she added.
In spite of what has happened, there are no plans to move the DPP Chambers from Eve Leary where it has been housed for decades.
“We are planning to stay here, we like it here. We are comfortable here… we don’t have plans to remove the Chambers from Eve Leary.
“We have plans for extensions because we are cramped here for space and that has impacted negatively on the DPP being able to employ more legal staff.”
The DPP’s office was spared from the fire that gutted the Police Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), the Police’s Construction Office and a dorm section.
In the chaos to save the building, the thousands of files at the office were left in disarray as officers rushed to save them.