Supreme Court opens several DV interviewing / hearing rooms in Berbice

Several Domestic Violence interview and virtual hearing rooms were on Friday morning officially opened with ribbon cutting ceremonies in Regions 5 and 6. The openings were done in the West Berbice Corentyne and Berbice Magisterial Districts.

The establishment of the rooms were done by the Supreme Court of Judiciary of Guyana in collaboration with UNICEF.

In her welcoming remarks, Registrar of the Supreme Court Sueanna Lovell told the gathering that the Supreme Court is thankful to UNICEF as she said domestic violence affects anyone and it’s sadly, a painful thing to talk about.

At the opening, Deputy Commander Hunt said the issue of domestic violence affects the country and society both financially and socially.

According to Hunt, the Domestic Violence Act makes provisions for the protection of victims and the police force has a zero tolerance in dealing with such matters once those are reported.

Unwillingness of victims to follow through causes against abusers continues to affect the work of the police in successfully prosecuting persons charged.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall reminded that the government of Guyana sees domestic violence as a human rights tragedy.

According to the Attorney General, the elevation of Guyana  as a society from slavery, indentureship, and colonialism are among the experiences that has affected the physic of Guyanese which contributes to violence.

Nandlall said the issue is not one that needs to be addressed by government along but rather all Guyanese since the issue is a societal one.

“In the year 2022 the Domestic Violence Act will undergo a complete overall and I also want to recognise that domestic violence has a devastating spinoff  effect, first of all it destroys the unit, that social unit of the family that forms the basis of the society and domestic violence strikes at the heart of that unit” Nandlall told a gathering in New Amsterdam Berbice on Friday afternoon.

Chancellor of the Judiciary Madame Yonette Cummings-Edwards said the court find that victims sometimes feel engagements with the courts is taking them back right through the ordeal again.

The chancellor said the courts management is aware of the sentiments of victims and those willing to give statements. She also stressed that the perpetrators also have a fair right to be treated properly during the process, something she described as ‘equal justice’

According to the Chancellor, works are being done to unsure that there is no re-victimising of persons who seek redress through the courts for their exposure to domestic violence and abuse.

Delivering the feature remarks was Patrica Gittens, Child Protection Specialist at UNICEF.

According to her, every sector and family ought to be involved in the process of addressing domestic violence and abuse.

She used her brief presence at the podium to call on all to become involved in the process.

Ribbons were cut for interview and virtual hearing rooms at Weldaad, Blairmont, Reliance and New Amsterdam Magistrates Courts were done in person while virtual cuttings were done at the Springlands and No.51 Magistrates Courts.

Among those present at the ribbon cuttings within the West and Corentyne Magisterial Districts were Chancellor of the Judiciary Madame Justice  Yonette Cummings-Edwards, Chief Justice Roxanne George-Wiltshire, Chief Magistrate Ann McLennon and Supreme Court Registrar Sueanna Lovell, Unicef’s Communications Associate and several senior and other members of the judiciary.