Recording of Court Proceedings Bill 2014 – Bill No. 1/20141622 10 Feb, 2014
Ms. Manickchand: Thank you very much, Sir. May it please you, Sir, before I begin on this Bill I would like to take some time to warmly welcome the new Member Dr. Cummings to the House. This is a good place where much can be done if the environment is right, and I hope it will be right for you, because I believe when women are in positions of leadership we can influence good change. So I am very pleased you have joined us and are here with us this evening.
I do want to also offer congratulations to my learned friend Mr. Basil Williams. I am very fond of Mr. Williams and very pleased and feel a sense of pride that my friend that I have known for many years has been elevated to this Office. I do wish him all the very best and warm congratulations. I do have to say though it would be dishonest of me if I did not say I am saddened by the fact that we missed – I say we very loosely because this side of the House had very little to do with who will be elevated to that Office of Deputy Speaker – I am disappointed that the Opposition missed the opportunity to demonstrate their belief in equality, and their professed desire to see women empowered by not replacing the Former Deputy Speaker with a woman. So now we have broken this beautiful tradition that we had where at least the Deputy Speaker was female. We now have a Mr. Deputy Speaker which jarred my ears just now when Your Honour referred to Mr. Williams as Mister.
And I do have to note, Sir that I am further distressed by a new configuration I have seen on this side of the House, the Opposition side, another male, probably a good, sound male, elevated to the front bench but a woman placed far behind where she was before and should have been. That causes me worry. For the persons who are myopically saying that I should concern myself to this side of the House I would like to suggest that... [Ms. Ally: Exactly, you do not have any business with what we do on this side.] Mr. Speaker the cause of women in Guyana, the cause of women across the world, still has to be a united cause because it is far from being met. The desires, the things we should have for true equality are far from being met. Every little demotion like we have seen here today really dents our progress as a gender.
Sir, having said that I do wish to commend the Honourable, the young, the vibrant Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs for bringing to this House this afternoon this Bill that will see much change in the way justice is administered and delivered in our country. It is six short clauses, but six closes to progress, six clauses to efficiency, six timely clauses. I would like to say to the Hon. Attorney General that I am fully supportive of this Bill. I am pleased to hear Mr. Williams say that APNU will fully support the Bill before the House also.
I believe we have heard so many times of appeals being delayed, both to the full court as well as the court of appeal. We have heard so many times of judgements being delayed because of records of the court being slow in coming so that they can be perused and accessed. We have heard so many times of the inconveniences that ordinary citizens suffer because of our inability, presently, to record in an efficient and speedy manner the record of the court. This Bill seeks to change that. This Bill would allow us to record efficiently and speedily what happens in the court. I have heard the Hon. Attorney General indicate this is only a pilot. Or that presently upon the passage of this Bill, on this becoming law we will be piloting this equipment in a few courts. I am very hopeful.
The Bill speaks of the Clerk of Court and also of court and goes on in the explanation section to define what court means. The suggestion that there is a Clerk of Court says to me there is every intention at some point, and some point earlier rather than later of making this facility available in the Magistrate’s Court also. We would not have to come back to this House to address that.
So this is a Bill that is short, it is concise, but it is one that will bring to our ordinary citizens, one that is going to bring to an entire arm of Government, the judiciary, the kind of efficiency and the kind of speed that a 2014 Guyana deserves. Because of those reasons I wish to commend this Bill to the House for passage and say I am fully supportive of the clauses in this very short but sensible Bill. [Applause]
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