…more coming in 2019As the first Children’s Court opened its doors to the public on Wednesday, plans were announced to construct more such facilities outside of the capital city of Georgetown in the coming year by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) representative to Guyana and Suriname, Sylvie Fouet.The new court, which is housed at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts, will serve to better the lives of juveniles. “We believe the court is very timely and sustainable. It’s an investment, a sustainable investment especially when we look at the principle underlying the Juvenile Justice Act… for UNICEF the investment we believe is needed and we will give dividend to the young people,” Fouet said.It was on this note that the representative highlighted, “In 2019, the plan is also to support the expansion to the court… so the spirit is also to decentralise; to goJustice Yonette Cummings-Edwards, Chancellor of the Judiciary, cuts the ribbon with Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan and Chief Justice Roxanne Georgeoutside Georgetown and I understand that we also have plans to have similar sessions taking place in other cities in Guyana and we will support definitely the way we can”.Meanwhile, Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Basil Williams said he believes there is no better way for a country to show its respect for human dignity than by “making appropriate provisions for the protection of its children and for securing their best interests”.According to him, the establishment of a Children’s Court is essential to ensuring that the objectives of the Juvenile Justice Act are advanced and achieved. He added that it is vital to ensuring a more rehabilitative and restorative system of juvenile justice. “It is essential to promoting the best interests of our children,” the Attorney General said.Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards, pointed to the importance of the new court and how juveniles will be sentenced using the new legislation, the Juvenile Justice Act.“In terms of sentencing, we are guided by modern principles of sentencing and again the whole idea is to carry out sentences through the safe, fair and humane custody and supervision of our young people so the least restrictive measures consistent with the protection of the public and of personnel working with juveniles are to be used,” She explained.Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, was also at the opening of the historic event noted how pleased he is to launch the new Court. “The journey that has realised this today commenced since 2004. The then Government of which I was a member, as a parliamentarian had delivered its first report to the committee on the rights of the child.”He said after the report was submitted a number of recommendations were made by the committee urging that the same be implemented as early as possible which included raising the age of criminal responsibility from 10 years, ensuring that persons below the age of 18 are not tried as adults but be given adequate and special protection among others.Magistrates Annette Singh and Dylon Best have undergone training to deal with juvenile cases.