Work on the building that will house the first Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) office in Berbice is expected to be completed by month end and will soon lessen the time it takes for Region Six residents to access certain legal services.
On Wednesday, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall travelled to the ancient country to inspect ongoing works at the two-storey building that has been set aside to house the DPP office and either the Land or the Deeds Registry. This $20,450,005 Inter-American Development Bank/Government of Guyana-funded project is part of the Modernisation of Justice Administration System programme, a report from the Government Information Agency (GINA) said.
“It is important that I emphasise that this is the first time in Guyana’s history that a DPP office will be established in Berbice, and I believe that that is a significant accomplishment…it was a promise made in the manifesto of the PPP at the 2011 general elections,” Nandlall said.
The minister further said that government embarked on the project after recognising that the DPP had no office in Region Six to offer residents certain services, including person to represent the state on bail petitions and applications for writs of habeas corpus.
“Unfortunately because there is no office of the DPP in Berbice these documents cannot be served in a timely manner, and as a result you cannot have the state being represented in Berbice in these matters…so litigants in Berbice are forced to file these types of matters all the way in Georgetown,” Nandlall said.
He also explained that having an office in this county would correct these significant deficiencies and, more importantly, make it easier for the people of East and West Berbice to exercise their legal right to bail, “and their legal right to challenge any form of detention by the police that they may deem unlawful because the Constitution guarantees those rights.”
According to GINA, the upper storey of the building will also boast living quarters for DPP staff when the Berbice Assizes is in session. It will also function as accommodation if the DPP appoints permanent staff in Berbice. Meanwhile, the lower flat of the facility will house either the Deeds or Lands Registry which are both currently housed under the High Court in New Amsterdam. Nandlall noted that both registries are important adjuncts to the administration of justice.
The minister also said that the facility will function as a model for another one that will be built in Essequibo when funds become available.