A $22.5M Magistrate’s court at Charity, Region Two was commissioned by President Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday.
The new facility was one of several earmarked for complete overhaul, joining the High Court and Magistrate’s court in the city, that are at present being renovated and another Magistrate’s Court in Berbice undergoing rehabilitation,the Government Information Agency (GINA) reported. There was urgent need for a new Magistrate’s Court at Charity as accommodation facilities were poor, it said.
The court is located in the same compound with the Charity Police Station and Post Office in the vicinity of the busy Charity market square. The court moved to its present location after being relocated from its place of establishment 17 miles from Charity in 1908. Initially it was named the Court Hall and was situated in an old colonial-type building before the Magistrate’s court was built in 1972.
The new court was seen by Jagdeo as an investment that is reflective of the development agenda that is being pursued at present across the country to improve the level of government services offered to society, GINA said. “It’s a process of change, a process of improvement, a process of making life easier and bringing greater government services to our people, government services at a higher quality,” the President was quoted as saying.
GINA reported that Jagdeo spoke of the autonomous nature of the judiciary of today, compared to that of the past when the party flag of the previous government flew higher than the Golden Arrowhead.
He assured that there is no attempt by government to interfere in the affairs of the judiciary as some critics would have the public believe but echoed government’s argument for it to hold to the principles of accountability, GINA said.
“Sometimes when we criticize the judiciary it is seen as an attempt to direct the judiciary… that is far from the truth… the Chancellor himself said the judiciary and by extension the magistracy are not beyond accountability… (they) have to be accountable to the bodies set up by the parliament, have to be accountable to people,” Jagdeo was quoted as saying.
He believes that citizens also have the right to be critical of the judiciary but that it should be done with decorum and reiterated the call for expeditiousness when ruling on important cases, GINA reported.
Meantime, Chancellor of the Judiciary Carl Singh appealed to magistrates to give of their best.
“The number of cases facing magistrates is voluminous and that is a fact that we expect. But by the same token we expect to see longer hours being put into work and on that note… we have devised a programme of evaluation and assessment of the work of magistrates,” GINA quoted Justice Singh as saying.
Citizens were also called upon to play their part in the affairs of the judiciary by keeping a watchful eye on the magistrates and their approach to their duties, particularly as it relates to timeliness and conduct in the courts, GINA reported.
Justice Singh spoke with dismay of complaints in the media about a number of breaches in courtroom rules and regulations, calling on magistrates to command the respect and authority that have been bestowed upon them, GINA said.