In what has been described as Canada’s largest bilateral project with Guyana, this country’s criminal justice system stands to benefit from a donation of $106 million from the Canadian Government.
The donation was made to the Justice Education Society, a Canadian NGO which will see the implementation of a two year programme that will target various aspects of the justice system in Guyana, which includes the Police, Prosecutors and the Magistracy.
Guyana’s Attorney General, Basil Williams, and Canadian Chargé d’Affaires, Sharmini Poulin, visited the Police Training Centre on Friday afternoon to meet with Police, Police prosecutors and State Prosecutors who are being trained under the Canadian funded project -“Strengthening the Guyanese Criminal Justice System”.
Last year, the Justice Education Society commenced the training locally with the Police Force on major case management and forensic video analysis and crime scene management.
The goal of the JES project is to develop the technical capacity of the Police along with Police Prosecutors, State Prosecutors and Magistrates to collect, analyse and present forensic evidence as a means of decreasing impunity rates.
The JES team has been visiting Guyana since September 2015 and has commenced training activities with the Guyana Police Force on Major Case Management, Forensic Video Analysis and Crime Scene Management.
The project is being implemented in collaboration with the Ministries of Public Security and Legal Affairs, as well as the Office of the Chancellor of the Judiciary, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Guyana Police Force.
Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Carl Singh, has visited the training sessions and noted the “tremendous value” of targeting the prosecutors and magistrates.
Director of Public Prosecutions, Bibi Shalimar Ali-Hack, praised the JES for the timeliness of the intervention and for “the wealth of knowledge imparted”.
Attorney General Basil Williams reaffirmed the Government of Guyana’s commitment to strengthening the administration of justice in the country and he thanked the Government of Canada for its ongoing support.
Ms. Poulin noted that this project is an important part of Canada’s contribution to strengthening the rule of law in Guyana.
While observing that access to a competent and fair justice system is a fundamental human right, she reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to working to strengthen national justice systems in the region, by sharing Canadian expertise, improving access to and efficiency of the justice system, and providing training and mentoring programs for both police and justice officials.