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New Child Court opens at Wales

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A new Children’s Court and Child-Friendly Room was commissioned on Thursday in Wales, West Bank Demerara, Region Three ─ an initiative that was described as historic.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, SC, delivered the feature remarks at the opening ceremony, where he explained that the court is the second of its kind in Guyana, and marks a major step forward in the government’s plans to transform Guyana’s legal landscape.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, SC

“We speak many times in our government about transforming Guyana, and that transformation is permeating all sectors of our country, the legal sector [is] obviously very much at the forefront of benefiting from that transformation,” the minister said.  

The facility was funded by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and will effectively handle cases involving children, focusing on meeting international best practices in juvenile justice.

Minister Nandlall added that the court’s establishment marks a significant step in ensuring access to justice for children, in alignment with the Juvenile Justice Act. 

AG Nandlall delivering remarks at the opening ceremony for the Wales Children’s Court and Child-Friendly Room

“Our government sees the judicial system, the legal system, the rule of law and its enforcement and applicability as central to the development of our country and the advancement of our society,” AG Nandlall asserted.

The senior government official emphasised ambitious plans to craft a more efficient and robust criminal justice system.

He said the government is building the enabling infrastructure to ensure vital legal systems can function effectively.

A Children’s Court and Child-Friendly Room was on Thursday commissioned in Wales, West Bank Demerara

“The inconvenient truth is that more and more of our citizens and citizens across the world engage with the legal system in progressively increasing numbers. Our government recognises that. And, that is why the transformation that I speak about is not manifesting itself only in the construction of physical structures and in capital type projects, but also at the level of policy and at the level of legislation,” Minister Nandlall explained.

The AG pointed out that the Sexual Offences Act, which was enacted in 2010, is currently under comprehensive review.

“UNICEF played a significant role in helping us conceive and design that important piece of legislation…After 14 years, we are conducting a desk review, a comparative analysis with similar legislation across the Commonwealth, and of course, reviewing 14 years of its operation to identify the deficiency that we would have unearthed during that period and to address them,” the attorney general explained.

The Children’s court

The proposed amendments include the establishment of a registry to track sex offenders, and the mandatory monitoring of their whereabouts, even when they travel abroad.

AG Nandlall pledged the government’s ongoing collaboration with the judiciary to strengthen the justice system, particularly in promoting rehabilitation for these types of violence.

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