I am pleased to be here today on behalf of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (commonly known as INL) and the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative to formally launch the implementation of the “Strengthening the Criminal Justice in Guyana” Program.
We are very proud to facilitate this program through the Justice Education Society of British Colombia. I am confident this program will strengthen the integrity and responsiveness of Guyana’s justice system.
The Embassy has been working alongside the AG / Ministry of Legal Affairs and the Director of Public Prosecutions to strengthen Guyana’s justice system. During these engagements, we recognized that each component agency has an independent and constitutional role and function. We also recognize that outcomes are enhanced when each agency understands the work of the other and has confidence that best practices are being utilized when carrying out those responsibilities.
Between 2012 and early 2014 agencies of the United States government including the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) completed a series of assessment reports which identified challenges existing in the justice system of Guyana extending from police investigative procedures through the criminal prosecution process.
In January 2015, the Embassy and the diplomatic community combined efforts to identify and address issues within the Justice Sector. A series of meetings and seminars with representatives of the Guyanese policing, prosecuting and judicial authorities were conducted to ascertain the expertise and methodology to develop a structured justice reform program for Guyana.
The information gathered from these engagements provided us assistance in developing a program with subject matter experts who possess the required expertise in justice sector reform to address the issues Guyana faces in their criminal justice system.
The main objective of this program will be to increase effective criminal investigation in Guyana that leads to strong prosecutions and trials by boosting the technical capacity of the police, prosecutors, and magistrates to work with criminal evidence in a supportive environment.
In conclusion, we want to continue to assist the Government of Guyana Criminal Justice entities to improve their knowledge, skills, abilities and collaboration with one another. Increased knowledge, skills, abilities and collaboration means increased capacity to get better results. That is something we all want and will continue to strive for.
Without further ado, I would like to pledge my government’s continued support for programs and projects that will ultimately lead to enhancing the criminal justice system in Guyana.