On Thursday March 11, the United States and the United Kingdom provided $75,000 of equipment to Barbados prosecutors to support remote criminal justice operations. The equipment will be used to facilitate remote working and virtual appearances at court proceedings, and further efforts to mitigate and contain the spread of COVID-19. The equipment gifted through the US/UK Criminal Justice Reform Project will be used by police prosecutors in the Department of Court Prosecutors of the Royal Barbados Police Force and prosecutors in the Department of Public Prosecutions. The donation will support both departments in their roles in managing and presenting criminal cases in Barbados and help to limit operational disturbances and reduce health risks caused by the pandemic. The equipment will also go a long way in ensuring the swift disposition of some criminal matters before the court, preventing delays and further backlogs in Barbados.
Speaking with U.S. and UK diplomats, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Donna Babb-Agard QC said, “We take this opportunity to express our gratitude for the continuing support from the US/UK Criminal Justice project. This gift will assist the Public Prosecutions Department tremendously in enhancing our mandate to effectively prosecute criminal matters in a timely manner. It is especially welcomed during this global COVID-19 Pandemic, which has made remote court hearings inevitable in the delivery of criminal justice in our jurisdiction.” Similar sentiments were expressed by the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Erwin Boyce who expressed gratitude on behalf of the Royal Barbados Police Force for the gifts.
U.S. Ambassador Linda Taglialatela stated, “The United States is pleased to continue collaborating with the Barbados DPP. This equipment will allow prosecutors to ensure robust, speedy trials via safe remote court hearings, a major innovation in the provision of justice.”
UK Charge d’Affaires, Craig Fulton said, “The UK is committed to supporting efforts to strengthen the criminal justice system in Barbados. We are therefore delighted to be able to hand over this equipment to assist prosecutors in conducting remote court hearings, which are especially important at this time given the challenges from COVID-19.”
Last month the US and UK governments provided fifty e-learning programmes on Human Trafficking to the Office of the Attorney General in Barbados; and is continuing to work across the region to strengthen capacity on criminal justice reform and the prosecution of serious crimes.