GUYANA’S justice system, particularly in the area of Sexual Offences, is being viewed as a model by neighbouring countries. This is according to United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Country Representative, Sylvie Fouet, who said the country has much to be proud of.
During a recent press café hosted at UNICEF Guyana Head Office, Fouet said while the country continues to face challenges in several areas, the significant progress made in the justice system cannot be understated.
““Guyana should be very proud of its way of handling the sexual offences court and the Sexual Offences Act,” she told reporters.
Last November, the Supreme Court of Judicature launched the Sexual Offences Court, and according to Fouet, UNICEF offered its support to ensure that settings of the court are conducive for children to have their stories recorded without having to face the issue of ‘second victimisation’.
Between November 2017 and April 2018, the Sexual Offences Court heard a total of 14 cases with some nine persons being found guilty. The Sexual Offences Court is intended to enhance the efficiency in prosecution and adjudication of cases of sexual offences, and more importantly to respond to the needs of victims.
The court has a panel of eminent judges, including Justice Simone Morris-Ramlall, Justice Joanne Barlow, Justice Navindra Singh, Justice James Bovell-Drakes and Justice Brassington Reynolds, whose functions are rotated.
Witnesses also have a special room to give their testimony, while a panel of support staff is being overseen by the chief justice.