Attorney General (AG), Basil Williams informed the Guyana Standard today that the Government is expected to shortly receive a report on how it will go about addressing Guyana’s laws which list voodoo, vagrancy, and suicide as offences.

The Minister of Legal Affairs noted that Mr. Peter Pursglove S.C, who is contracted under the Support for the Criminal Justice System Programme (SCJS), is working closely with his Chambers regarding the proposed amendments. He said that the work started in October 2018.

Williams noted that the Summary Jurisdiction Act states that a practitioner of obeah or voodoo can face up to 12 months’ imprisonment. He stressed that alternatives have been implemented in other jurisdictions, such as bail, seizure of travel documents, periodic reporting to police or other authorities, electronic monitoring or curfews, and conditional and suspended sentences. The AG said that this is the direction Guyana intends to move in, that is, alternative sentencing for the mentioned offenses, among others. (See link for Summary Jurisdiction Act:

The Minister also noted that the government is still reviewing the reduction of custodial sentences for the possession of small amounts of cannabis. He said that Cabinet is still considering the draft bill that has been prepared to address this matter.

The Minister said that the reports on the foregoing issues will be laid in Parliament.




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