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DNA testing to be done locally from next year

Last Updated on Friday, 8 December 2017, 7:56 by Denis Chabrol

The Guyana Forensic Science Laboratory located at Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is to fund the upgrade of Guyana’s Forensic Laboratory to allow it to conduct DNA tests after an assessment had found several deficiencies, Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan announced.

Ramjattan told Demerara Waves Online News that the Head of the Citizen Security Programme, Dr. Clement Henry has indicated to him that the DNA testing equipment would “”most certainly” be imported and installed in a few months. The Minister expects that the Turkeyen-based laboratory would be able to conduct DNA tests beginning the first half of next year.

He told the House that through the Citizen Security Programme almost US$1 million to upgrade and equip the laboratory to conduct DNA testing.

Ramjattan said when the Forensic Laboratory was designed in 2012, there were “huge problems” that prevented it from being used to conduct DNA tests.

“It was not made structurally and ventilation-wise and also security-wise for DNA testing and that is why I had to plead with the IDB officials to tweak- that yes, indeed, we would need almost a million US dollars for that purpose to make it into DNA…,”he said.

Currently, Guyana has to send its DNA samples to neighbouring Brazil, United Kingdom or the Caribbean to assist investigators in having conclusive evidence especially in cases where bodies have either been decomposed or burnt beyond recognition.

Ramjattan said initially, the forensic laboratory located at Turkeyen was built to conduct trace element, chemistry, toxicology and serology testing.

Meanwhile, the Public Security Minister said the United States (US)-funded CARISECURE programme would collect and analyse data to influence policy making by the strategic management department of the Guyana Police Force.

A US$280,000 survey , he added, would be conducted to determine the impact of domestic violence on life expectancy.

Ramjattan further disclosed that a new performance assessment system would be implemented by the Guyana Police Force to weed out rogue cops from the system.

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December 2017