There are approximately 2,000 prisoners in the five facilities in Georgetown, New Amsterdam, Mazaruni, Lusignan and Timehri. Of these 35 percent is on remand awaiting trial. The Georgetown Prison at Camp Street was designed to accommodate 600 prisoners but holds nearly 1,000. Violent incidents or escapes have occurred in Georgetown, New Amsterdam and Mazaruni in the past. There was always a great fear among those responsible for security that Camp Street could explode at any time. The problem of overcrowding was well known.
The recent studies and reports are as follows: Read more
Sean Hinds comes out of the dark and dangerous recesses of our recent history. In the relating of events of that era, he cleverly ensures that the confessions that he makes stop short of implicating him in any criminal activity, save that his admission that he was contracted to kill Ronald Waddell may point to involvement in a conspiracy to commit a crime. That admission is a matter for the Police.
Sean Hinds emerged against a background of seething political convulsions, which started immediately after the 1992 general elections, subsided, resumed after the 1997 general elections, subsided, then resumed again after the 2001 general elections. Into this sustained cauldron of political unrest directed against the PPP, was injected the criminal terrorism by the Mash Day 2002 jailbreak gang of five dangerous criminals who set up residence in Buxton. They were succeeded by the Fineman gang which killed until 2008.
I have written twice over the past year urging that the jury system should be abolished. On the first occasion several lawyers, including the Attorney General, disagreed with the views I expressed. On the second occasion I repeated my views in an article publicizing the remarks of Chief Justice Ivor Archie of Trinidad and Tobago urging that the jury system be reviewed. His remarks were supported by two of the most outstanding jurists of the Caribbean region, retired Chief Justices Sharma and de la Bastide of Trinidad and Tobago. The latter is also retired President of the Caribbean Court of Justice.
Two events received publicity during last week. The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions reported that for the last Criminal Assizes which commenced on January 15 and ended on March 28, 25 matters were completed in Demerara, Berbice and Essequibo. 18 matters were presented for Demerara. In 2 the DPP entered nolle prosequi (withdrawal of prosecution). In 5 matters there were guilty pleas to lesser offences. Of the remaining 11 that went to trial there was only 1 guilty verdict.
Unlike any other profession, law is practiced in the glare of publicity and this is the season of admission of lawyers to practice their profession in open court. Lawyers obtain their Legal Education Certificate from the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad in September every year after two grueling years of study. This course of study is preceded by an additional three years in exhausting pursuit of the LL.B. degree at the University of Guyana. By October, they are ready to be admitted to practice.
The admission ceremony is a major event in the lives of newly qualified lawyers. It represents the successful culmination of five years of study and sacrifice. It allows them, albeit briefly but memorably, to thank and give public recognition of all those who helped them along the way – their parents, family members, teachers, the Almighty – and to pledge their commitment to uphold the high traditions of the Bar. There is a great sense of anticipation in a new and challenging endeavour and environment.