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The Judiciary of Guyana organised a two-day conference in collaboration with the US Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and the Center of State Courts.
Guyana’s asset recovery conference was held at the Guyana Marriott Hotel where Sarah-Ann Lynch, US Ambassador, addressed the local legislators to update the country’s existing asset recovery framework to allow for improved prosecution. Ambassador Lynch stated, “Asset recovery legislative frameworks are critical to taking the profit from crime. While we understand the challenge of reform, we encourage counterparts to update existing legislation to give judicial officers the best possible framework through which to adjudicate these cases. We hope this conference will be a step that leads to additional reform and ultimately, recovery of assets after a crime takes place.”
Speaking in front of Guyana’s top judicial officers, she stated that the conference arrives at a key point in time, whereby Guyana is experiencing rapid economic transformation. The conference was arranged by the Judiciary of Guyana in collaboration with the US Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and the National Center of State Courts. In July 2022, a similar event was held in Guyana in relation to Law Enforcement Officers and Prosecutors.
According to the US Ambassador, Guyana’s progress on these matters has already been recorded. She commented, “We brought together experts from across the Caribbean, the United States, and Canada to discuss the overall topic of asset recovery and specifically conviction-based asset recovery. As a result of that workshop, we saw more law enforcement officers and prosecutors investigate and bring asset recovery cases before the courts using the knowledge they had gained.”
With this second conference, the Ambassador stated that she is looking forward to future asset recovery inquiries, trials and more prosecutions in Guyana. The Acting Chancellor, Justice Yonette Cummings, in her address, warned that criminals will not enjoy the “sweet” of their ill-gotten gains and Law enforcement agencies are coming after them.
“We were told growing up that crime does not pay, and the proceeds of crime, the ill-gotten gains, are only for a time. And why is this so? Because the State and Law Enforcement Agencies will come after those elements who try to get rich by criminal means and to get their assets,” the Chancellor added.
The money laundering issue was also a forming part of the discussion and like the US ambassador, the Chancellor also stated that the conference is happening at a crucial time and will cover a range of legal issues.
“The spin-off, oil and gas, and its related industries, and the challenges and legal issues associated with such economic development are well known, and the judiciary of Guyana must meet those challenges legally, and we must be above par in dealing with those issues. Hence, we see this workshop as another means of building and enhancing our capacity, giving us the key strategies to combat the issues confronting us,” she said.
Director of the Caribbean Anti-Crime Project, JoAnne Richardson; Deputy Director of the Caribbean Anti-Crime Project, Nicola Suter and Judicial Officers from Guyana, Belize and Jamaica are among those attending the conference.
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