May 28, 2019 News
The final document of the Green State Development Strategy: Vision 2040 was recently released by the Department of Environment, and part of it deals with correcting deficiencies in the Rule of Law.
In this regard, the document says that a study should be undertaken to identify laws and regulations that require amendment, replacement and/or repeal in the current economic and social context of Guyana. It may be submitted to Parliament to be used to develop a legislative agenda. These actions would strengthen the legislation.
According to the document, wherever these create unwitting obstacles to development and transformation, they will be removed considering most efficient way to pursue legislative changes. A restructured and transforming economy will no longer rely on ‘business-as-usual’ approaches that perpetuate cycles of increasing cost and uncertainty of doing business, encouraging corruption and informality, and promoting insecurity and inequalities which are obstacles to social cohesion.
Focused primarily on enhancing the capacity of the judicial system and reducing case backlogs, it was stated that government will implement a system-wide digital recording and trial management system. Earlier this year, the Canadian funded Judicial Reform and Institutional Strengthening (JURIST) Project official handed over ten Liberty systems to the judiciary.
The equipment was installed from November 11-14, 2018 in 10 courts across Guyana – nine in Georgetown and one in Berbice. The systems will allow the courts to capture, store and retrieve digitally recorded audio of courtroom proceedings.
Then, Chancellor of the Judiciary Yonette Cummings-Edwards noted that while technology brings transformation change and enormous benefits to all stakeholders in the justice system, it will not replace judges, magistrates, registrars and judicial officers, but “technology in the hands of these great persons will transform the judicial landscape.”
Furthermore, a section of the document deals specifically with strengthening the independent judiciary with additional resources for greater effectiveness and says that it requires sufficient budgetary resources for the effective development of its human resources, management system and physical facilities.
According to the document, “In the short term, the Government will implement a system-wide digital recording and trial management system for the Judiciary that is widely acknowledged as a necessary condition for reducing case backlogs and fulfilling the promise of the recent reform of civil procedure. Over the medium term, the judiciary will fill the critical personnel vacancies in the magistracy and courts system. The expansion of the judiciary into hinterland areas will be continued including construction of physical facilities to ensure more frequent sittings of the courts.”
The document was keen to note that a strong judiciary also relies on a support system that includes, among other things, an alternative dispute resolution system and legal aid services. It explained that the latter includes the expansion of access to hinterland communities and those held in remand, including youth.
It added that the implementation of the Juvenile Justice Reform and Family Court system will be accelerated and partnerships with the private sector and civil society are encouraged to gain buy-in to these services and to ensure service quality to communities.
The Green State Development Strategy: Vision 2040 is Guyana’s twenty-year, national development policy that reflects the guiding vision and principles of the ‘green agenda.’ The central objective is development that provides a better quality of life for all Guyanese derived from the country’s natural wealth – its diversity of people and abundant natural resources (land, water, forests, mineral and aggregates, biodiversity).
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