Justice, security at top of criminal reform agenda By Mark Ramotar Guyana Chronicle
April 1, 2004

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JUSTICE and security are two of the main issues being reviewed by a team from the Canadian-based International Centre for Criminal Reform and Criminal Justice Policy that is currently in Guyana under the auspices of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

The study (review) focuses on recent development and technical assistance activities in the justice and security sectors in Guyana and seven other countries, namely Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

CIDA initiated the review in order to identify significant opportunities to offer development assistance with respect to aspects of the justice and public security sectors that are identified as priorities by countries of the region and in which Canada has transferable expertise.

The review will analyze the justice and security issues identified by countries of the region as impeding or threatening their social and economic development; summarize the priorities for action identified by each country and by the region as a whole; review recent and existing local, national or regional programmes in these sectors and identify some of the lessons learned through these initiatives; and identify programming opportunities for the Agency as part of potential short, medium and long-term investment strategies, at both the national and regional levels, and whenever advisable, in cooperation with other donor agencies.

The field research and interviews is being conducted by a team of six Canadian researchers, two of whom spoke in private yesterday with a representative each from the Guyana Chronicle and Stabroek News newspapers.

The meeting at CIDA country-office on Main and New Market Streets, Georgetown, with Mr. Mark Lalonde and Mr. Derek Raine covered several topical issues in Guyana at the moment, including those relating to politics, justice and security.

He indicated that this is his second trip to Guyana in less than a month (on this same project) and during that visit and this current one, he has already had more than 30 different meetings with representatives of civil, social and religious organizations, and with representatives of political parties, including President Bharrat Jagdeo and Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Robert Corbin.

Lalonde also emphasized the point that efficient justice and security sectors are required to provide a sustainable enabling environment for equitable social and economic development.

He said the review is expected to be completed by the end of this month (April), when a report on the findings will be submitted to CIDA.

CIDA's long-term goals include helping countries of the region achieve increased citizen security and build such an environment