An artist's impression of the forensic laboratory
A $450 million contract was Friday signed for the construction of a state-of-the-art forensic laboratory to boost Guyana’s law enforcement capabilities.
The laboratory is to be located at the University of Guyana’s (UG) Turkeyen Campus with construction being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in partnership with the government.
Speaking at the signing ceremony at the home affairs ministry, Police Commissioner Henry Greene said the lab would be “a dream come true.”
“The fight against crime is not done by our methods with the public alone, by our support from the witnesses, also done by support from forensic science, from information you can gather at a scene of a crime, from DNA processing and from a whole range of forensic activity which takes place at the crime scene.”
He added that a forensic lab would be critical to their work since they have been trying with what they inherited in 1987 but have been unable to achieve a significant amount.
“We still have to depend largely on overseas assistance particularly, DNA assistance, but we’ve managed in other areas like blood, hair, and fibres etcetera,” Greene stated.
The commissioner said they have managed to recruit trained university graduates who have been helping them upgrade in terms of drug processing, blood spatter analysis, fingerprinting and other forensic procedures currently done.
“But we recognise the need for this new forensic lab with upgraded facilities and a level of staff that would certainly be competent enough to lead us forward in the fight against crime.”
According to the commissioner, the force is in full agreement with the decision to have the lab situated at UG.
“We’re happy to be associated with this decision; I think many times judges, lawyers, magistrates feel comfortable when the [processing] is done by people who are not members of the Guyana Police Force per se,” he said.
UG’s Pro-Chancellor Dr. Prem Misir was also present and stated that it was a historic moment in terms of the development of forensic science at the laboratory level.
“Guyana has moved miles ahead in terms of trying to curb crimes but this particular development will play a massive role in terms of bringing things to a more reduced level if you like.”
He too lauded the decision to have the lab on campus saying it will also be of benefit to the university.
“It’s a multi-disciplinary field, its not to do with just chemistry or physics, it include biology, it includes toxicology, it includes the behaviourial sciences, psychology and so on, so you can imagine the impact this would have on this society,” Dr. Misir stated.
Meanwhile, IDB Representative Marco Nicola said the Bank was “pleased with the overall implementation” of the project.
“Security is one of the most important indicators of a country’s business climate and competitiveness. So this project is therefore a key contributor of the competitiveness pillar of the Bank’s country strategy for Guyana over the period 2008-2012.”