Attorney explains delay in Family Court
By Latoya Giles
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall has explained why the newly built Family Court has not been fully operational. He told Kaieteur News that everyone is aware that the building has been finished for quite some time, but unfortunately it has not been in use.
According to Nandlall, the rules of the court have been completed and were laid in the National Assembly. Further, the Attorney General (AG) said that he is aware that the Judicial Service Commission has interviewed several persons for appointments to the High Court as judges.
Nandlall said that he suspects that the successful applicants will be assigned to the Family Court. Moreover, the AG told Kaieteur News that the issue currently holding up the court is the procurement of furnishings.
He said that he was aware that a decision was made for a particular contractor to provide these items, but it was decided that the cost quoted was too exorbitant. He said that other avenues will be resorted to for the sourcing of the items.
Nandlall noted that that process has already commenced and an agency has been identified through the tendering process so as to provide the requisite items. He affirmed that the entire process would be conducted in an efficient manner. He said that once that hurdle is crossed the court would become functional shortly thereafter.
Moreover Nandlall said that he has no doubt that having a specialized court to deal exclusively with family and children-related matters would be a tremendous boost for the entire justice system.
“With a specialized court, it would certainly bring speed to the resolutions of family-related disputes which, unless they are resolved quickly, normally have devastating consequences on the lives of the persons involved, especially the children, which could cause social problems that pervade our society, including crime.”
Nandlall said that in recognition of the importance of having a speedy resolution of these cases, the executive in conjunction with the judiciary decided to establish the court.
Additionally, he noted, in the Ninth Parliament, the administration passed legislation to modernize the statutory landscape in Guyana with regards to children. These include the new Adoption Act, the Custody Act and the Guardianship Act.
Former Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Priya Manickchand, had said that the initiative of a Family Court was prompted by the awareness that the family unit is severely affected by societal demoralization. The new facility will handle issues such as divorce, division of property, domestic matters, adoption, guardianship and custody.
In early 2009, Cabinet granted a two-fold approval to establish the court and erect a structure in which the entity would be housed.
“This means that the process of compartmentalizing family law should begin even before the completion of the building and indicates the significance placed on judicial preparedness in family welfare matters,” the Minister had stated.
The new, two-storey building, has replicated the architectural style of the Supreme Court, its adjoining mediation centre and library.