September 25, 2016

Canadian Attorney to represent Prison Service, Police Force

As the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the disturbances at the Georgetown Prisons earlier this month continues, a

Attorney Selwyn Pieters

Attorney Selwyn Pieters

Canadian-based Attorney has now joined the team probing the incident which claimed the lives of 17 inmates and injured several others, including prison officials.
Attorney Selwyn Pieters flew into Guyana on Tuesday morning after being appointed by Government to represent the interests of the Guyana Prison Service and the Guyana Police Force in the ongoing inquiry.
Pieters was granted full participatory rights to the proceedings by Chairman of the three-member panel, Justice James Patterson, after an application was made on Tuesday.
“I’m going to be representing the Guyana Prison Service and the Guyana Police Force in this Commission of Inquiry, I was asked by the Attorney General to appear on behalf of these entities… (that) have substantive interest and direct interests in these proceedings,” the overseas-based Attorney told the Commission in his submissions.
He also indicated that he will be calling witnesses to testify on behalf of the two State entities. Pieters further informed the Commission that he expected to be accompanied by a senior prison official and a senior Police rank during the proceedings.
After listening to the Attorney’s brief submission, Justice Patterson, who along with former Prison Director Dale Erskine and Human Rights Activists Merle Mendonca are heading the inquiry, granted the application giving the Attorney full participatory rights in the CoI proceedings.
In addition, the Chairman informed the Attorney that the Commission can facilitate the recall of previous witnesses for cross-examination by him.
Pieters is not new to Guyana’s judiciary. He was admitted to the local Bar back in 2012, to participate in the Linden Commission of Inquiry. He was among a team of attorneys who represented the interests of the three Lindeners killed during the July 18, 2012 protests in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) over plans by the then Government to raise electricity rates. Lindeners Shemroy Bouyea, Ron Somerset and Allan Lewis were killed during a standoff with the Police Force.
Attorney Pieters then returned to Guyana in 2014 for the Commission of Inquiry into the death of Guyanese Historian and Political Activists, Dr Walter Rodney, which ended in July last year. He was representing the Guyana Trades Union Congress for most of the inquiry. He then briefly assumed responsibility for the People’s National Congress (PNC) after the party’s Attorney, Basil Williams was appointed Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister in May 2015.
Pieters is also a legal practitioner in Trinidad and Tobago.

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