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Part-time judges to help clear case backlog

The European Union Ambassador to Guyana, Jernej Videtic.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams says part-time judges will soon be hired and new rule introduced to fast-track the clearance of a huge backlog of cases in the court system.

“If we have four judges working for six months this would contribute to the ending of the backlog…the backlog could also be ended by the introduction of the new civil rules…” he was quoted as saying by the Government Information Agency (GINA).

He explained that the the new civil rule has a provision which will see a judge handling each case until it is ready for hearing. In this manner lengthy periods of time would not be wasted for the prosecution to deliver its case.

Williams made the announcement following a meeting Monday with the European Union’s (EU) new ambassador to Guyana, Jernej Videtic.

GINA also reported that Videtic, who is also the EU’s top envoy to  Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and the Dutch Overseas Countries and Territories, discussed ideas for the justice sector reforms that are in the pipeline with the Attorney General.

 “We are very pleased to share the areas of reform that are in line with the Human Rights aspect of everything that is done in the courts…we heard also the possibilities where the European Union could come as a development partner…where we could do more to help Guyana,” Ambassador Videtic explained.

 He added that already there is a new Regional Programme called Crime and Security which is a multi-country programme that can be financed by the EU.

A regional conference on the “Abolishment of the death penalty” will be organised for November by the EU.  Minister Williams is expected to attend and present Guyana’s position.

Minister Williams remarked that Guyana was appraised of the various aspects of the EU’s programme with which they can apply for loans, and which will go towards the delivery of justice and the Crime and Security Programme.

 Other areas discussed at Monday morning’s meeting related to the programme for the Attorney General’s Chamber as proposed in the 2016 budget, cyber-crime and the establishment of a permanent law reform commission, and law revision .

 “…Cybercrime has a regimen of its own…investigators will have to understand what’s a cyber-offence, prosecutors will have to be trained and equally magistrates and judges,” Minister Williams explained.

The Latin American and Caribbean Cyber Security Trends report states that since Guyana National Computer Incident Response Team’s (GNCIRT) creation in August 2013, the country has experienced numerous cybersecurity incidents ranging from the defacement of government websites to credit card fraud to the defrauding of a prominent businessman.