Attorney at Law and President of the Guyana Bar Association, Christopher Ram, this morning applied for “interested party” status in the Prison Unrest Commission of Inquiry.
He submitted to the Commission that the events of the night of the tragedy marked the highest number of deaths of incarcerated persons at any one time and is of national importance.
Ram said the Association is the recognised body for lawyers in Guyana and many of those lawyers were representing some of the persons who died during the prison riot.
The Bar Association he said, could provide legal assistance for some of the persons appearing before the Commission by being present and having status. He reminded the Commission that under the Laws of Guyana, persons appearing before a Commission have the right to legal representation.
Commission Chairman, Justice James Patterson, questioned Ram about whether the Attorneys from the Association would be providing service at no cost. Mr. Ram said that any appearance by members of the Association should be “pro bono” as the Association would have requested.
The Chairman said he is unaware that many experienced attorneys would make “pro bono” appearances. Ram said there are Attorneys who would offer pro-bono work. He named Attorney Glen Hanoman as one of the Attorneys who will be appearing before the Commission and his work will be pro bono.
Mr. Ram said it is “absolutely necessary” for there to be legal representation for parties involved in the Commission’s work.
Justice Patterson encouraged the Bar Association to have younger members of the bar participate in the Commission as a way of gaining experience.
The witnesses who have already testified will be recalled to face examination by the Attorneys of the Bar Association. The move resulted in the Commission’s work for the day being adjourned until Monday, when the witnesses will be recalled to face examination.