DNA lab ‘almost’ fully operational – Benn
The Guyana Forensic Science Laboratory (GFSL) is ‘almost’ fully capable of conducting DNA testing without the need for assistance from other countries.
“Our DNA system is almost fully working for particular types of DNA. There are particular ones, depending on the quality of speed of return which we have sent overseas,” Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn said on Wednesday.
In June 2019, the lab commenced DNA testing following the acquisition of a key piece of equipment. DNA testing has been a vital aspect of the police investigation into many criminal cases.
Prior to the construction of the lab, samples had to be sent overseas for testing. In many instances, there were delays in receiving the results for as long as months or even years.
Speaking at his ministry’s 2023 year-in-review press conference, Benn said the main factor that contributed to the long-standing challenge is the absence of specific equipment that is needed.
“I think we are waiting on a particular instrument in relation to making that even faster,” he said.
According to Benn, efforts are ongoing to address this as well as other contributing issues which include the time span in which DNA results are received.
At the same time, he said the human capability of the laboratory is being enhanced. Just recently, he said four experts were hired.
“We have had four experts recently employed. They have doctorates and masters, various specialisation in terms of supporting work at the forensic laboratory and they are already working with us,” Benn noted.
According to the Home Affairs Minister, the boost in the staffing complement has seen a reduction in the backlog of DNA testing.