Laws must be updated to address organised, complex crimes Nandlall as first Legal Conference gets underway i

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Attorney General & Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall, S.C., delivering remarks at the first Legal Conference

The advancement of criminal activities across the region leading to a spiralling rate of violence and ensuing social turmoil needs to be addressed with modern laws, according to Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, S.C.

He was at the time addressing legal minds from across the CARICOM Region who are meeting in Guyana to participate in the First Legal Conference on Criminal Justice Reform at the Marriott Hotel, Kingston Georgetown.

The Attorney General pointed out that “easy access to guns and ammunition, coupled with the availability of information and communications technology at the disposal of criminals, crime has become a very organised, complex and sophisticated phenomena across the Region.”

President Dr Irfaan Ali with Attorney General Anil Nandlall and other officials on Wednesday at the opening of the First Legal Conference on Criminal Justice Reform held in Georgetown

As a result, he noted that in most jurisdictions, criminals, often operating in gangs and even across borders, do so with uncanny ease and with an unacceptable degree of impunity.

Therefore, Nandlall pointed out that the legal fraternity must aggressively pursue continuous education in order to update their knowledge and keep abreast of new and emerging developments in the law.

While some aspects of the journey have begun across the region, the Attorney General noted that it must now be accelerated. Introspection and timely identification of deficiencies followed by remedial measures he said, must commence.

“Legislators must swiftly dispense with anachronistic legislation and replace them with modern ones that will bring into force new legal processes, some, already tried and tested in many parts of the world. These legislations must be crafted to contextually and resiliently confront the identified conduct that is offensive to the law and which results in social disorder,” he told those gathered at the conference.

“Conservative conventional postures and positions will simply not fly. Extraordinarycircumstances require extraordinary responses,” Nandlall added. He urged participants to be robust and candid in their discussions to derive recommendations that are innovative, pragmatic and futuristic.

Further, he noted that practitioners must be always ready to offer legal and forensic assistance to the courts while Judges and Magistrates must inject competence, impartiality and efficiency in the discharge of their functions.

Recognising the criticisms across the region over the time taken to address cases within the court system and the cry of “justice delayed is justice denied,” he said.

Governments must ensure that the Judiciary is adequately resourced to enable thedischarge of their duties with the requisite expediency.

This Conference on Criminal Justice Reform is part of the Support for Criminal Justice System (SCJS) Project, funded under a loan programme by the Inter-American  Development Bank (IDB) and being executed by the Attorney General’s Chambers and Ministry of Legal Affairs, Government of Guyana. The principal objectives of this Programme are to effect reforms in the criminal justice system of Guyana in order to (i) reduce the proportion of pre-trial detainees, and (ii) to increase the use of alternative sentencing.

Nandlall said the conference brings together the law makers, the interpreter of thelaw, the enforcer of the law, the practitioner of the law and of course the subject ofthe law, in a singular engagement to critically analyse and scientifically examine thelaw and its application.

While this Conference, is the first of its kind ever held in Guyana, he expressed hope that it will not be the last but will expand beyond the realm of criminal justice and embrace other fundamental areas of law, such as civil law practice and procedure, constitutional and public law, different facets of commercial law, oil and gas law, the environmental law, etc. and of course, the new frontiers such as artificial intelligence.