New prosecutors’ course is a timely intervention

Dear Editor,
Good news it is to read that “citizens (are) to benefit from better representation in courts with start of (a) new prosecutors’ course.” The news is that there was the launch of this new prosecutorial course at the University of Guyana (UG), and according to Attorney General Anil Nandlall, SC, the expectation is that citizens would benefit from better representation, particularly at the level of the Magistrates’ Courts.
Now, with this input I am most elated, and I do have a few comments to make in relation to the AG and things legal in Guyana. First, from the citizens’ point of view, the judiciary is the most important organ of any Government, because it acts as their protector against the possible excesses of legislative and executive organs. The role of the judiciary as the guardian-protector of the Constitution and the fundamental rights of the people makes it more respectable than the other two organs, and therefore it must be safeguarded at all times.
My mind goes back to December 2017, when acting Chief Justice (CJ) Roxane George SC ruled that President David Granger’s revocation of Seafield, West Coast Berbice (WCB) farmers’ leases for lands was unlawful. This came after two years of intense court battles, wherein attorney for the plaintiffs (Phillip Johnson, Rupert Blackman and Rawle Miller), Anil Nandlall, current AG, led the charge. I bring up this matter because we need total independence of the court, and one man who almost single-handedly demonstrated the far reaches of an independent judiciary is AG Nandlall. One only has to go through the many furious battles to save Guyana’s democracy and pick this up. He was rooted in the Constitution, and was always one step ahead of those seeking to thwart justice in the most important issue in the country, the Guyana Elections.
With this new initiative, the “Certificate in Advocacy and Evidence for Summary Courts Prosecutors’ Programme”, devised by the Government of Guyana, the purpose is to strengthen and balance the scales of the country’s justice system. Currently, in the Magistrates’ Courts, citizens are represented by Police ranks. However, the Ministry of Legal Affairs, in collaboration with the University of Guyana (UG), would run the programme to ensure victims of criminal offences benefit from effective legal representation.
This is so very vital. Imagine what would have ensued if no one had stood up for the farmers or against those who attempted to steal the elections. It is all about the political will, knowledge of the issues at a deep level, and the willingness to sacrifice for the right thing.
As the AG pointed out, “…prosecutors have an important role to play in carrying out justice”, as he noted that the training would equip them with the tools to carry out their functions effectively. Indeed, as he explained, “Justice is not a one-way street; justice has two sides. It has the public interest, it has the victim’s interest, it has the State’s interest, all amalgamated and become the responsibility of the prosecutor to preserve, protect and advance.”
For starters, the programme would train 71 individuals who hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Law (LLB) from UG but did not further their legal education at any of the regional law schools. From these 71 participants, 35 could be awarded a scholarship to attend the Hugh Wooding Law School or any regional law school, based on their performance during the training. What a fantastic move this is.
At the launch of the programme, Nandlall elaborated the corollary. It is that, “This programme provides persons with a great opportunity to begin their career in the legal profession. It provides employment and it advances and augments the criminal justice system. To a potential recruit, you have an unprecedented opportunity to prepare your work as a prosecutor. You have the power and might of the State behind you; you have the resources of the Police Force at your disposal, and you have an opportunity to showcase your learning, your talent to fine tune, your skill to hone, your skill in an adversarial context with the best legal minds at the criminal bar. You have a great opportunity, and this can lay the foundation for your upward mobility.”
My highest regards to the Government of Guyana and AG Nandlall. My best wishes to the entire fraternity of students and teachers.

Yours truly,
H Singh