After a two-year closure as a result of bat infestation and flooding of the court compound, the Mibikuri Magistrate’s Court in Black Bush Polder (BBP), Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) was on Thursday recommissioned.
The newly-opened court will make special arrangements for traumatised victims by providing safe rooms where they can give evidence against perpetrators.
Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan explained that all courts in Guyana would cater for traumatised victims by providing safe rooms where they can give their evidence if they do not want to be in the same space with the alleged perpetrator.
The facility in BBP was renovated at a cost of $24 million and will service all 4500 residents of the four polders : Lesbeholden, Mibikuri, Johanna, and Yakasari.
The court was initially commissioned in 2012, however, because of bat infestation, it was closed in late 2019. During the period the court was housed at the Whim Magistrate Court.
According to the Chief Magistrate, the Mibikuri Court was restored to its original state with better facilities added.
“The Judiciary is cognisant of the fact that access to justice is more than merely just providing a building to house a court and that a space should be provided where court users can transact their business in a court-friendly, clean and comfortable environment.”
The recommissioned building now has facilities for persons in wheelchairs; it also has a recording system that will ensure that any testimony is digitally recorded. Victims of domestic violence will also be able to give their evidence in a court-friendly environment. Acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards explained the need for a court to serve the 4500 residents of the community of Mibikuri.
“And this is largely so when you are not assured of timely and affordable justice or legal avenues to deal with their legal issues. They would want to know that their cases are being dealt with and resolved by a fair and independent body and at the end of the day, their legal needs are met and they would have had a fair hearing and they enjoy a just result.”