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A US$25M justice sector reform programme has been launched, specifying measures to introduce alternative sentencing to the death penalty for murders, phasing out police prosecutors from handling criminal and narcotics matters, expanding legal aid for the country’s poor, and developing a code of conduct for judges and magistrates.Currently,Cheap NFL Jerseys, everyone found guilty of murder is sentenced to death by hanging, but the new programme proposes amendments to the Criminal Law Offences Act to dictate alternative sentencing,Cheap Jerseys Online, Justice Claudette Singh said at the launching, Friday evening at Le Meridien Pegasus.It is expected that amendments will be made to modernise civil and criminal procedural laws to make civil and criminal procedures more simple and uniform, particularly in the areas of bail, sentencing, costs and appeals.Regarding the move to phase out police prosecutors from handling criminal and narcotics matters, Justice Singh said that this could take years, given the need to attract lawyers.She said that the Chamber of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is being enhanced to strengthen the effectiveness of state prosecutions.And even as President Bharrat Jagdeo lashed out at the “atrocious” time span some judges take to hand down judgments, the new programme will involve efforts to reduce the backlog of civil and criminal cases at all levels of the court system and provide continuing education for judges.Acting Chancellor, Justice Carl Singh, said that while some delay is inevitable, he is calling on magistrates and judges to resist unreasonable requests for adjournment by lawyers. Singh said that the consistent and timely delivery of justice would enhance public confidence in the system.President Jagdeo expressed dissatisfaction that the Judicial Service Commission, which has responsibility for disciplining, has not been accountable. He urged the Commission to play a greater role in addressing the delay in the handing down of decisions.One of the main components of the programme is enhancing access to justice,Wholesale Jerseys, namely the expansion of legal aid services.Key methodologies for this include increasing citizen awareness of their legal rights and responsibilities; facilitating legal advice and representation for court users; and providing access to information and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms. It is intended that support for informal justice will be strengthened, particularly in rural areas.The programme is officially titled the Modernization of the Justice Administration System programme (MJAS) and has a four-year time span.It will be managed by a steering committee of key policy makers, namely,Cheap China Jerseys, the Ministers of Finance, Legal Affairs and Home Affairs, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Chancellor, Chief Justice and the President of the Guyana Bar Association.A technical secretariat will provide coordination and technical help to all justice sector institutions, and will ensure that the complex reforms in different institutions are effectively linked and managed.A sector-wide approach was used to draft the programme, as it was felt that a narrow institutional approach would have limited impact, given the complex set of institutions which make up the justice system, and given their inter-related functions.Further, the Attorney General said it was also felt that strengthened cooperation between the institutions in the sector was key to addressing many of the challenges they face.The holistic approach, he said,Wholesale Authentic Jerseys, allows for the prioritization of reform activities on the basis of an analysis across the sector, rather than on an institutional basis.The Attorney General pointed out that the challenges facing the justice sector affects the country’s ability to stimulate economic growth,Cheap NHL Adidas Jerseys, increase employment, improve the environment for private sector investment, raise productivity in key sectors, and generally address persistent citizen security issues.The Government feels that the implementation of the programme will help to erase some of those constraints.“The Government of Guyana is of the view that reforms in the justice sector will result in improved public perceptions of the speed, efficacy and fairness of the system.This, in turn, will contribute to greater security and strengthening of the rule of law, reduced crime, increased equity and a more growth-oriented economy,” the Attorney General stated.President Jagdeo said that the consultations for the development of the Justice Sector Reform Strategy, from which the programme flowed, were thorny; but he said the aim was to craft a programme that the executive and the judiciary were happy with.He said that it was important, while looking at overseas models, to craft a strategy that was relevant to Guyana. “This is our programme,” the President declared.
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