Aug 11, 2020 News Comments Off on Public not aware of US $8M IDB-funded Criminal Justice project – Anil Nandlall
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall has expressed his dissatisfaction with the management of an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) US $8 million funded project titled “Support for the Criminal Justice System Program” that has been ongoing since 2017.
According to a release from the Ministry, Nandlall visited the project office yesterday in Hadfield Street, in the same building that formerly housed the Leader of the Opposition’s office while David Granger was in that post.
“The Attorney General,” the release noted, “stated that he is pleased that such a project is ongoing in Guyana and expressed his unwavering support to it. However, the Attorney General expressed deep regret that since the commencement of the project in 2017, the public is not aware of its nature, nor objective. Minister Nandlall expressed dissatisfaction with the manner in which the project is unfolding and that its impact is not being felt by the people of Guyana.”
Nandlall, according to the release, expressed an intention to review the project documents to ensure that it is being efficiently and effectively managed. The release also stated that upgrading the Sentencing Policy, the Bail Act and Legal Aid programme are among the top matters on the AG’s agenda
According to the release, the AG in his address to staffers of the Support Programme pointed to a need for a Sentencing Policy in Guyana. He noted that there are sentencing guidelines, which were drafted under a previous project but never implemented.
In this regard, the Attorney General tasked the team with reviewing and modifying those guidelines, if necessary, so as to avoid duplication. Further, he stated that Guyana is in need of a new Bail Act and that one is already drafted at the Legislative Drafting Department of the Attorney General Chambers. He urged that the Act be reviewed and updated, if necessary, to avoid wastage of valuable resources.
Notably, the Attorney General expressed the need to have a legal aid programme be grounded on some form of statutory footing and must be nationally oriented and not confined only to Georgetown, as there are people in need of legal aid right across Guyana.
The Legal Affairs Minister reminded the staff that the project is funded by a loan that will eventually have to be repaid by the people of Guyana and therefore, the ultimate beneficiaries of the project are the people of Guyana and that they must strive to ensure that the people reap maximum benefits from this project.
According to the release, the main objective of the project is to contribute to the reduction of high concentrations of prison population in Guyana. The more specific objectives are to reduce the proportion of inmates who are pre-trial detainees and increase the use of alternative sentencing in the country.
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