Proper functioning legal system is vital for economic development
- Attorney General
By Latoya Giles
Fully recognizing that the entire justice system needs revamping, Attorney General Anil Nandlall says he continues to devise a series of programmes to help with this. The latest of his initiatives was a legal meeting which was held in New Amsterdam at the Erven Training Centre.
According to the Attorney General, the meeting was seen as the legal awareness and education programme under the Modernization of the Justice Administration project. He told Kaieteur News that the objective of the legal awareness and education programme is to visit various communities to educate persons on their rights and responsibilities as is enshrined in the constitution, and the justice sector institutions and how it operates.
Nandlall explained that the legal awareness programme will also focus on providing information at community meetings and public awareness sessions on the functions of the Court of Appeal, the High Court, Magistrate’s Court, Deeds Registry, Public Trustee Office, Judicial Service Commission and the Director of Public Prosecution Chambers.
It also focuses on alternative dispute resolution measures such as mediation along with how the registry system in Guyana functions.
The Attorney General noted that some of the concerns raised by persons include the eligibility of persons to sit as jurors and whether someone can represent themselves in a court proceeding. One of the major concerns raised, was the lengthy period taken in mortgage matters.
According to the AG, society will come to a complete standstill and development will not begin to take place if an effective legal system or legal framework of laws which will govern the conduct of people to ensure they behave in a particular manner, is not established.
Nandlall stated that all experts who have examined this concept of development have found that economic prosperity takes place in a country where there is a functioning legal system. He noted that every economic superpower in the world is there for many reasons and one of the fundamental reasons for attaining that level of success is because they have a legal system that is functioning.
He added that experts were engaged to examine the country’s legal sector to identify the challenges and advance solutions that can rectify them.
This led to the launching of the justice improvement programme to address identifiable problems. According to Nandlall, part of the problem that has been identified is the lack of appreciation and awareness by the people of the importance of the justice sector.
There is also a lack of awareness among the people of their role in terms of their obligations and legal responsibilities as citizens.
He emphasized that every judicial system of a country can only function if it receives support from the people of that country, as no judicial system in the world can incarcerate all its citizens, nor can operate effectively if its people do not have the respect, cooperation and support required for the judicial system to function.
The Legal Affairs Minister also explained the numerous interventions and the progress made thus far under the justice modernization programme, which includes the rehabilitation and construction of a number of Magistrate’s Court buildings, the creation of a new Magisterial District in Linden, the enactment of several legislations, the establishment of a family court and a mediation centre, along with the institutional strengthening of the Deeds Registry with reforms to ensure an efficient judicial system.