Guyana to host regional Legal Conference on Criminal Justice Reform in July

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Attorney General’s Chambers and Legal Affairs Ministry

See below for a statement on Guyana hosting the regional Legal Conference on Criminal Justice Reform in July:

The Government of Guyana, through the Attorney General’s Chambers and theMinistry of Legal Affairs, will host the first- ever ‘Legal Conference on Criminal JusticeReform – Advancing the Needham’s Point Declaration’, in the Region, to be held inGuyana, at the Marriott Hotel, Georgetown, on the 10th-11th July, 2024.

This seminal initiative is part of the Government’s agenda to modernize the country’slegal architecture and to continue to prepare the legal system of Guyana to meet theevolving demands of modern legal challenges.

This two-day Conference was conceptualised from a collaborative effort between theAttorney General’s Chambers and Ministry of Legal Affairs of the Co-operativeRepublic of Guyana and the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Academy for Law andis part of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)-funded Support for theCriminal Justice System (SCJS) project in Guyana.

This Support for the Criminal Justice System (SCJS) project targets two key aspects ofcriminal justice reform aimed, inter alia, to help Guyana overcome prison overcrowding,by reducing pre-trial detentions and increasing the use of alternative sentencing, amongother measures.

To this end, this mega landmark event is set to redefine the future of criminal lawpractice and procedures and will feature keynote speeches and panel discussions led bydistinguished experts in the field of criminal justice in the Caribbean and aims to buildon the significant progress made during the Caribbean Court of Justice Academy forLaw’s 7th Biennial Conference held October, 2023, in Barbados, where the Needham’sPoint Declaration was adopted as a commitment to improving criminal justice.

The Needham’s Point Declaration covers key areas related to criminal justice reform,including policy and legislative interventions, prosecution, police representation for theaccused victims’ rights and judicial interventions. The declaration emphasizes the needfor swift justice for the guilty and protection of the innocent.

The Attorney General has recently emphasised the importance of continuing legaleducation in Guyana. In this stead, and in keeping with the objective to educate, thisConference offers an opportunity for the continued discussion on best practices,experiences, and recommended actions for addressing critical issues within the criminaljustice system.

The Conference will cover several topics, including but not limited to, eliminating casebacklog, Criminal Procedure Rules, plea bargaining, Children’s Court experience, roleand impact of Public Defender’s Office, Judge alone trials, dealing with DNA evidencein Court, Restorative Justice, the art of fact finding, sentencing guidelines and papercommittals.

In this regard, the focus will be on enhancing continuous legal education in an effort tokeep abreast with the transformative changes in the legal framework through sharedknowledge and collaborative efforts which will serve well to equip all stakeholders inthe Criminal Justice System to effectively implement and interpret new laws. This, theAttorney General stated, is aligned to the Government of Guyana’s transformativeagenda.

A distinguished group of presenters and panellists have been identified for this eventand, also, among the impressive list of invitees are Attorneys General from theCaribbean, Heads of Judiciaries, Judges, Directors of Public Prosecution, legal experts,law professors, policymakers, criminal defence attorneys, advocates, members of lawenforcement, law students and members of civil society, all from across the regioncoming together for a comprehensive discussion aimed at advancing the Needham’sPoint Declaration.

All persons interested in attending the ‘First Legal Conference on Criminal JusticeReform- Advancing the Needham’s Point Declaration’, may do so by registering beforethe 20th June, 2024, at [email protected].