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Supreme Court tackling COVID aggressively, even as new cases surface

Last Updated on Friday, 23 April 2021, 8:48 by Denis Chabrol

The Supreme Court, denying that there has been a callous disregard for the safety of staff and others, has indicated that several measures have been put in place to aggressively tackle the coronavirus, COVID-19.

“From the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in Guyana to present, the management of the Supreme Court
has done everything in its power and taken every precaution,” the court said in a statement.

The Supreme Court said it collaborated with the Ministry of Health and the Covid-19 Task Force in the implementation of all established guidelines and protocols to ensure the safe operation of the judicial system.

Measures taken so far, according to the Supreme Court, include regular sanitization and fumigation, provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for staff, provision of free transportation to and from work for staff to minimize the risk associated with the use of public transportation, stationing of community health workers at court entrances, use of technology in the conduct of trials to reduce the amount of persons who have to gone to the courts on a daily basis, paying for Covid-19 testing for staff at Eureka Labs, and arranging for the Covid-19 vaccines to be made available to staff and members  of the Judiciary.

However, the Supreme Court said a number of persons have been tested positive for COVID-19. “Despite these and other measures, over the past week and a half we received reports of members of our staff who have tested positive for Covid-19,” the Court said.

The Court said that it has arranged for testing  of those who have been  identified as having been at greatest risk of exposure. “We also did contact tracing and sanitized the offices where those persons worked. Staff members have been required to quarantine for the requisite period as required by the Ministry of Health, the court added.

The management said it was actively considering all options as we seek to take the best course of action for all concerned in light of the fact that the Judiciary is designated as an essential service to the populace.

The Supreme Court said the health and safety of all court staff, their families and all court users is of paramount concern to the management of the Judiciary.

In addition, the Supreme Court said it has arranged webinars for all staff throughout the country on the effects
of Covid-19, responding to the pandemic and vaccination. Another webinar is scheduled for May, 2021.

The Supreme Court has always maintained contact with the Ministry of Health and the Covid-19 Task Force to ensure that all health requirements are implemented, and its COVID-19 management committees meet regularly

An emergency meeting was held on April 22, 2021 with heads of department and supervisory staff to discuss the current situation.

“Management wishes to also reiterate that we do not take lightly our obligation to provide a safe work environment for our staff and all our court customers and will continue to take every precaution necessary to promote and maintain the health and well-being of us all,” the Supreme Court said.

The court made known its position in response to criticisms issued elsewhere.