Judiciary must support state to suppress crime - government urges

Guyana Chronicle
January 27, 2000

THE government yesterday declared it was disturbed that punishment being handed down by the courts does not in many cases fit the crime.

In a statement, the Information Ministry said that President Bharrat Jagdeo, at the regular weekly Cabinet session Tuesday, noted with alarm that punishment meted out by local courts frequently does not fit the crime.

The President noted that the lack of severity of sentences for serious offences, including gun-running, "flies in the face of public policy that criminals must pay for their crimes", the ministry said.

"Cabinet noted that while the Executive is taking a determined, no-nonsense position against corruption, illicit drugs, gun crimes and traffic offences, it would appear that the judicial arms of the State do not lend adequate support for this initiative."

The Information Ministry added that Cabinet "pronounced against the gross disparity in sentences and asserted that there could be no justification for the utter disregard for conventional sentencing principles in recent court cases, including the Budhan container of arms and ammunition cases".

The government said that while "recognising the constitutional restraints implicit in the Separation of Powers, (it) views this as a disturbing trend that undermines the rule of law and good governance of our society".

Gun smuggling convict Nandkumar Bhudan was last week jailed for one year by Chief Magistrate, Mr Paul Fung-A-Fat.

Bhudan, also known as John Bhudan, took the rap for the guns and ammunition found in a container on a city wharf last month.

His co-defendant, Peter Morgan, proprietor of Morgan's Auto Sales at 34 Oleander Gardens, East Coast Demerara, was discharged by Magistrate Fung-A-Fat after the Director of Public Prosecutions withdrew against him.

The Information Ministry statement yesterday added: "The Government supports measures by the Chancellor of the Judiciary to strengthen enforcement of the law to ensure that adequate punishment is imposed at all times and that sentences become a deterrent to criminals".

It announced that the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs has been mandated to "monitor the imposition of penalties in keeping with the interest of the State to protect the public and promote the efficacy of the judicial process."

In the arms and ammunition case, the prosecution said that Bhudan, 42, of 87 Middle Road La Penitence, Georgetown, admitted in a written statement that he had concealed the guns and ammunition in a 4 x 4 pick-up that was in the confiscated container.

In the cache were four .380 `Davis', two .380 `Jennings', one .25 `Lorcin', one .25 `Raven' and one .380 `Bersa', all semi-automatic pistols as well as one .38 `Harrington' and `Richardson' and a .38 `Taurus' revolvers, three 12-guage pump action `Mossberg' shotguns, 1,250 .32 `Harlow' point, 1,000 .32 full metal jacket and 100 `Remington' full revolver rounds, 380 .380, 150 .25, 150 9mm `Winchester' and 640 12-guage Winchester ammo were the contents mentioned in the joint charge.

The cache was found in the tailgate of the 4 x 4 and in boxes containing foodstuff under the seats.

Morgan gave a written statement disclaiming knowledge of the consignment but confirmed he gave Bhudan the vehicle to ship here.

A © page from:
Guyana: Land of Six Peoples