Police lab will do forensic DNA testing
- Barbadian and French specialists to train locals
The soon to be completed police forensic laboratory at the University of Guyana Turkeyen Campus will definitely have the capabilities to do DNA testing for forensic purposes.
This was disclosed by Minister of Home Affairs, Clement Rohee, who told the media that the administration has obtained the commitment of two specialists to train local scientists in the process.
There was discussion on the capacity of the local facility to conduct DNA testing for forensic science.
Over the years Guyana has had to rely on overseas laboratories for this purpose, which often led to confusion and delays.
But according to the Minister, the administration has put in place measures to address this problem.
“A Barbadian specialist is coming down to Guyana to assist us with that. We’ve also got commitments from the French Government for them to send someone to assist us with that, particularly the DNA aspect,” Rohee disclosed.
However, apart from the training in DNA science, there will be the need for specialist training in the field of evidence gathering for court purposes.
In a recent interview, a local forensic analyst had indicated that no one has so far been sent for the requisite training to, first of all, work in a state of the art forensic laboratory, much less give expert testimony on the results obtained.
“This facility requires state of the art training and so far nothing has been done in this area. Those who have to operate in the lab will have to attend specialist universities to do work like Serology, which is one of the most common forms of evidence today,” explained the source.
DNA testing, locally will be cost effective, he argued, since it could easily cost the Guyana Government about $300,000 to send each sample overseas for testing.
“Where are all the bright Guyanese? Barbados is beating us with training. In their lab they have people with Master’s Degrees,” the source declared.
Last year, Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee remarked that because of the involvement of University of Guyana personnel, public confidence in the forensic results would be well enhanced.
He noted that in Guyana and the rest of the world, “the complex nature of crime has to be responded to both with old, tested methods and with new cutting edge methods.”
Last year April, the Guyana Government signed a $450M contract with Courtney Benn Contracting Services Limited for the construction of a forensic laboratory at the University of Guyana, Turkeyen Campus.
The construction of the laboratory, which is funded by the Inter American Development Bank in partnership with the Guyana Government, is expected to greatly enhance the investigative capabilities of the Guyana Police Force.