Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan on Wednesday met with Mr Peter Pursglove, where he was briefed on the recently commissioned study on alternatives to pre-trial detention.
Mr Pursglove was hired through the Citizen Security Strengthening Programme (CSSP) to explore and present alternatives to pre-trial detention that are harmonious with criminal justice processes in Guyana. His work is expected to contribute to a reduction in prison overcrowding and prevention of further criminalization of youths.
According to a press release from the Ministry of Public Security, in his initial meeting with Mr Pursglove, Minister Ramjattan stressed the timeliness of this activity particularly in light of the recent fire at the Juvenile Detention Centre, Sophia.
The release noted that the Minister emphasised the need for the study to include juvenile holding facilities. He also expressed his eagerness at receiving viable and sustainable solutions to the challenges that plague the prison system in Guyana.
Among the consultant’s tasks are conducting initial meetings with key stakeholders and identifying the strengths and weaknesses of Guyana’s approach to the provision of alternatives to incarceration, along with opportunities for reform and development.
It was noted that the study will review and make recommendations on issues such as: sentencing policy; discretion available to Judges, Magistrates, Police and Prosecutors; capacity of probabtion and other systems of supervision of non-custodial sanctions including possible collaboration with civil society organizations; restorative justice; and decriminalizing certain acts.
The release stated that Mr Pursglove is a Senior Counsel for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. He is a graduate of Magdalene College, University of Cambridge; King’s College, University of London; Inns of Court School of Law; and Wolverhampton University. He is barrister for 36 years with experience as an advocate and practitioner in three jurisdictions.
Further, he has advised Ministers of Justice, Attorney’s General and Prime Ministers at the political and policy levels in several Commonwealth Member States in Africa, the Caribbean and in the Pacific Region. His areas of speciality include: sentencing reform, judicial-sector reform, rule of law issues, justice and security, human rights, constitutional reform and anti-corruption.