Canada ready to assist in modernising Caribbean judicial process
--says High Commissioner Marcoux while presenting collection of Canadian law reports to Supreme Court Library

Guyana Chronicle
January 13, 2003

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CANADA, like the United Kingdom and the United States, is ready to assist in the modernisation and the streamlining of the judicial process throughout the Caribbean region.

This was disclosed by Canadian High Commissioner Mr Serge Marcoux last Thursday when he presented a complete set of law reports of the Supreme Court of Canada to Guyana's Supreme Court Library.

The presentation was made in the Office of Chief Justice Carl Singh, who accepted the law reports on behalf of the judiciary.

High Commissioner Marcoux expressed the hope that the law reports, which are “a small token of friendship coming from our Supreme Court today, will be proof of our engagement in this field”.

"The soon to be born Caribbean Court of Justice, by providing a common denominator to all Caribbean countries will hopefully contribute to the modernisation and the streamlining of the judicial process throughout the region,” he stated.

Mr Marcoux prefaced his formal remarks by conveying New Year greetings to Chief Justice Singh and Guyanese jurists on behalf of the Chief Justice of Canada, the Right Honourable Beverly McLachlin and the other judges of the Supreme Court of Canada.

“In our age of globalisation and instant communications, international contacts and exchanges between practitioners of any given profession are becoming an important if not essential part of the global quest for excellence. Be it in Guyana, in Canada or elsewhere in the world, we must apply ourselves to find new ways and means to do things better, quicker and more efficiently,” Mr Marcoux told Thursday’s small gathering.

“Today, I have the pleasure of presenting to you, on behalf of Mrs McLachlin, the collection of the Canada Supreme Courts Reports. As we go through these Acts from year to year, and from the 20th century to the 21st century, we can see how the men and, more and more, the women, who form the highest tribunal of our land have tried to establish and to maintain the rule of law in Canada, and to reflect in their judgements the ideals and values of our society,” he said.

The High Commissioner continued: “For many centuries, the magistracy has devoted most of its energies to eradicate violent behaviour in civilised societies. Unfortunately, as the last few months have demonstrated in this country, this role will continue to be essential. But there is now a new dimension to this phenomenon: I am referring to its internationalisation or, should I say, its globalisation.

“Gun-related murders and criminal violence have plagued not only Guyana, but most of the Caribbean Community states throughout 2002. The climate of insecurity has had negative effects not only on local business but has acted as a deterrent on international investment thus preventing the economic development of countries already hurt by a fall in their tourist industry. The criminal activities know no boundaries: narco-traffickers and illegal arms dealers have organised themselves copying to the business practices adopted by large multinational companies. It is therefore time for governments and magistrates from different countries to come together, share their experiences and be at least as well organised as the criminals they aim at combating.”

According to the High Commissioner, not only has the traditional role of the magistracy taken a new, more global dimension, it must deal now with new and complex issues. Nowhere probably is this felt more, he argued, than in the field of trade. He posited that an impartial, quick and fair judicial system, a system which respects the norms accepted internationally, is essential to attract investment and promote trade and industry in any country.

“With the Caribbean Single Market at our doors, with Free Trade of the Americas coming in a few years, with the new rules being put in place by the World Trade Organisation, the legal system will have a greater responsibility in the economic development of each and every country of the Americas,” Mr Marcoux reasoned.

He thanked Laparkan for its generous action in transporting the collection from Canada to Guyana without cost. The collection of law reports covers the period from 1935 to 2001.

A press release issued the same day by the Office of Chief Justice Singh stated that the resources of the Supreme Court have been strengthened through the acquisition of a complete set of law reports of the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Chief Justice praised the High Commissioner for his alacrity in both sourcing and arranging for the shipment of the law reports at no cost to the local justice system.

“This set of reports further strengthens the acquisition of the Supreme Court Library and marks another step in the programme of assistance to the legal system in Guyana, which has benefited substantially from reading material, including books and law reports on CD, provided by the British Government, and law reports of the Supreme Court of India provided through the courtesy of the Indian Government. Efforts are being made to secure a complete set of the law reports of the Supreme Court of the United States of America,” the release noted.

The statement concluded by recording the thanks of the Chief Justice on his own behalf and on behalf of the Chancellor of the Judiciary to High Commissioner Marcoux for his initiative and efforts at securing the reports. Justice Singh also expressed his gratitude to the Chief Justice and judges of the Supreme Court of Canada as well as to the Government of Canada for “this warm and magnanimous gesture, which will undoubtedly go a long way towards the improvement of local jurisprudence”.

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