PPP wants wide-ranging consultations on Coroners Act

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 December 2015, 10:13 by Denis Chabrol

The People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) wants wide-ranging consultations on amendments to the Coroners Act, beyond merely allowing for more persons other than magistrates to conduct inquests.

In a letter to Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams, the PPPC’s Anil Nandlall urged that there be  “holistic review” of the principal act in keeping with a recommendation by the Disciplined Forces Commission.

The PPPC wants the amendment that merely allows for the Judicial Services Commission to appoint “fit and proper” persons in addition to magistrates to be coroners for the whole of Guyana. Such consultations, the party says, should be held with associations representing the legal profession, Director of Public Prosecutions, Guyana Police Force, Guyana Human Rights Association, labour movement, Private Sector Commission and parliamentary parties “all of whom we consider to be important stakeholders and whom we believe should be invited to make their valuable ckntribution at a Parliamentary Select Committee.

“Signficantly, the subject of the Principal Act is a very complex, specialized and technical area of procedural as well as substantive law. Additionally, it touches and concerns the controversial issue of unnatural deaths,” said Nandlall.

The seven-month old coalition government has been promising to probe the unnatural deaths of hundreds of persons during the 2002 to 2009 crime spree.