In his first speech on criminal justice since taking office, justice secretary Ken Clarke yesterday laid out his plans for the reform of the courts, legal aid and sentencing.First, he addressed proposals announced last week to close almost a third of the country’s courts, explore alternative methods of dispute resolution, and use technology to avoid people having to attend court for routine matters. The driver for this is not to improve access to justice or outcomes, but ‘financial reality’ – it’s cheaper. On legal aid, Clarke confirmed that the government will be looking to cut eligibility and fees, candidly admitting ‘we cannot…afford the system we’ve got’, where £38 per person per year is spent on legal aid. He wants to see greater use of mediation in family disputes, and the Ministry of Justice has launched a review looking at how the family justice system can provide a better service for less money. Prisons, says Clarke, are costly and ineffectual, so he wants to find ways to reduce the future prison population and cut reoffending. The government’s ‘rehabilitation revolution’ envisages: prisons that are places of punishment; education; hard work and change; and rigorously enforced community sentences that punish offenders but also get them off drugs and into work (what work? You might ask, but that’s a different debate). Part of the government’s policy will be to get independent organisations involved in reducing re-offending, and paying them to keep offenders away from crime. Announcing a review of sentencing policy to introduce minimum and maximum sentences, and improve the effectiveness of community penalties, Clarke called for ‘more intelligent sentencing’ that will seek to give ‘better value for money’. However he warned: ‘I certainly cannot promise that we will be investing vast amounts of money in non-custodial sentences.’ Despite Clarke’s rhetoric about going back to first principles – punishing offenders, protecting the public and providing access to justice – the golden thread running through the speech was the pressing need to save money. As we know, nearly every government department is expected to have to cut its budgets by around a quarter – an unprecedented amount. With the constant references to cost-savings, Clarke’s speech did appear a recipe for justice on a shoestring, with the government deluding itself into thinking it can ‘spend less and do things better at the same time’. Clarke reassured listeners: ‘Spending less must not mean damaging criminal justice and if we are sophisticated and intelligent in what we do we will not cause harm.’ Sophisticated and intelligent, the MoJ? We shall see.
Share Share Tweet LocalNews PM announces Plans to Build new Wing on Reginald Armour Hospital in Portsmouth by: – July 24, 2019 Sharing is caring! 258 Views no discussions Health Care is expected to receive a major boost in the Portsmouth constituency with the construction of a new wing on the Reginald Armour Hospital as well as a new health center.These new projects are funded under Dominica’s Citizenship By Investment (CBI) programme and will be developed by Montreal Management Consultants EST (MMCE).According to Prime Minister Honorable Roosevelt Skerrit, contracts have already been signed for the construction of the new health center.“We will be creating more space and additional services at that hospital to cater to the town of Portsmouth. We also have already signed an agreement for a new health center. The health center will now be separated from the hospital so that we separate primary health care from secondary health care services. We have been advised that this allows for a more organized service because sometimes people go to the hospital for things they should go to the health center for,” Hon Skerrit said.The Dominica leader went on to express appreciation to the MMCE and made clear it’s exclusive sponsorship through the CBI programme. Share
Region One (Barima-Waini) miners were urged to be cognisant that their mining techniques do affect the Region’s waterways.Addressing a gathering of residents, including miners, in Mabaruma last week,GWI Managing Director, Dr Richard Van West-CharlesGuyana Water Incorporated (GWI) Managing Director, Dr Richard Van West-Charles took the opportunity to underscore the importance of protecting the country’s waterways from the risk of pollution caused by mining. This, he noted, is critical to securing the future of the younger generation.“You don’t want to have a situation whereby people are using all sorts of chemicals and methods to extract the gold and at the end of the day, your young people are going to be left with a number of issues, which are costly to remedy. So, the protection of the environment and the waterways in relation to your lands is very, very critical,” Dr Van West-Charles explained.Dr Van West-Charles encouraged the miners to seek advice for best practices for working near water. The Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), he pointed out, is one of the agencies that can lend assistance.The Managing Director stated, “There are a plethora of examples globally how many people have left land barren and impacted negatively on the environment, on their own waterways, on their own fish life, the flora, the fauna, so you got to begin to think ahead about sustainable development and the generations of your own that are going to come and what is the legacy you leave for them.”According to Dr Van West-Charles, GWI has also been playing its role by conducting its outreaches and educating persons on safe mining practices.Mining, though a lucrative industry, has several negative impacts on the environment and can be devastating if not conducted in a safe manner. When mining is done near water sources, the risk of metal contamination and increased sedimentation levels are very high.To mitigate the effects of mining on the waterways, the GWI has also been distributing jerrycans to hinterland communities that are most affected by this phenomenon. These jerrycans are designed to instantly sterilise untreated water for consumption, without the use of chlorine.Jerrycans were distributed in Mabaruma and in Kamarang, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni). The community of Kamarang recently suffered from a diarrhoeal outbreak. It was suspected that the river water which is used by residents for drinking and domestic purposes was contaminated.