Commonwealth SG supports Guyana’s justice reform initiative

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Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland, KC, will Thursday speak at the Legal Conference on Criminal Justice Reform taking place in Georgetown.

The conference, focusing on advancing the Needham’s Point Declaration, is hosted by the Government of Guyana in collaboration with the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Academy of Law and funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The event brings together a diverse group of stakeholders, including legislators, government officials, judges from the CCJ, national and regional judicial officers, academics, law students, civil society representatives, and international experts. The goal is to accelerate justice reform in Guyana to meet the evolving needs of the country’s legal and regulatory environment.

Scotland expressed her support for Guyana’s reform agenda. She emphasized the importance of justice in building an equitable society, particularly for the poor, marginalized, and vulnerable.

“Justice is at the very heart of ensuring that we have a society that is not only enabling but equitable. We are charged to deliver justice, particularly for the poor, the marginalized, the silenced, and the vulnerable.

“We can use the law as a weapon against injustice and wield it with skill whilst empowering the next generation,” Scotland reflected.

She praised the Government of Guyana for its commitment to accessible and equitable justice through a consultative and collaborative approach, and expressed her anticipation for the discussions at the conference. Scotland also mentioned that her team would be assessing additional ways to support these efforts going forward.

The Commonwealth Secretariat continues to support its member countries by providing technical assistance and developing model laws, templates, and toolkits tailored to specific needs. This initiative leverages the expertise and experience of the Commonwealth’s 2.7 billion citizens to strengthen access to justice and promote sustainable development.

In recent events, the Secretariat honored legal luminaries who contributed to the Commonwealth Model Law on Virtual Assets, launched at the Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting in Tanzania. Additionally, the organization has produced a Commonwealth Carbon Tax Model Law to aid countries in reducing emissions and combating climate change.

Available resources for legislators and government officials include provisions for Environmental, Social, and Economic Development in investment contracts, the Law and Climate Change toolkit, the Commonwealth’s Anticorruption Benchmarks, and the Commonwealth Elections Cybersecurity Best Practice Guide.

While in the Caribbean, Secretary-General Scotland will also assess further support for recovery efforts following Hurricane Beryl. The hurricane’s impact has reinforced her advocacy for climate justice, reform of the global financial architecture, and greater equity for small and vulnerable states. The Commonwealth Secretariat has activated its Rapid Response Framework to bolster recovery efforts and enhance resilience in affected countries.

Looking ahead, the theme of greater resilience will be a key focus at the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Samoa, as emphasized by incoming Chair-in-Office Prime Minister Fiamē Naomi Mataʻafa.

The event’s theme, “One Resilient Common Future by transforming our Common Wealth,” reflects Samoa’s commitment to a sustainable future for all member states.

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