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Crime Chief decries lack of DNA testing capability at Forensic Lab

first_imgHead of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Wendell Blanhum has stated that the lack of DNA testing at the Forensic Laboratory located in Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, is a “sore problem” affecting the work of his department.“They lack the capability to do DNA testing, so this is a sore problem, it’s a sore issue and we still have to rely on (overseas partners). Of recent, we have been engaging the Brazilian authorities,” the Crime Chief said on Tuesday during the “Hot Seat” – a local radio programme.The Forensic LabAccording to Blanhum, only on Monday he contacted the Brazilian officials regarding the testing of samples from the decomposed remains, believed to be those of 39-year-old Lilwantie Balack, called “Darling”, that were found in the backyard of Lot 117 Mibicuri, Black Bush Polder home she shared with her 45-year-old husband, Sunildat Balack, called “Redman”.“I spoke with the liaison officer and we are making arrangements to have the samples sent to Brazil to analyse,” the Crime Chief noted. Nevertheless, Blanhum pointed out that as the Force was able to use the local Forensic Lab for drug analysis, he was confident that it would soon be able to do the same with DNA testing.“I think very shortly, we will have that capability. I spoke with the Director of the Forensic Lab and I basically expressed my concern to him and he has assured me that very soon, they will be going down that avenue to do DNA testing.“But it’s a very costly exercise and at the end of the day, I think it will do us great justice, particularly the relatives of those victims, so that they can have the results in a very timely manner,” the Crime Chief said.Over the years, the Guyana Police Force has had to resort to using overseas laboratories to conduct DNA testing for several high-profile cases, including the murders of Babita Sarjou; British teen Dominic Bernard; former Demerara Bank employee Sheema Mangar, and MFK Trading owner Mohamed F Khan.This is due to the fact that the Forensic Lab is yet to be outfitted with the necessary instruments to conduct basic DNA and gun residue testing which are internationally recognised.However, back in February, Government had approved some US$32,524 to honour outstanding payments to a Barbados security firm, IED, for the completion of works that will see the Laboratory equipped to provide these services.The firm was responsible for installing the security system at the Laboratory by way of a contract in 2012 and providing consultation oversight in 2013, during phase one of the project, but this never materialised because of the outstanding payments owed by Government.The firm will, therefore, be required to complete its work on the Laboratory, along with completing the training of persons who are going to operate the facility. The technical and electrical issues that were discovered a while back will also be rectified as soon as the contractors return to work.The Public Security Ministry last year commenced building the capacity of the Forensic Lab to prepare the facility for DNA and gun residue testing. Additionally, discussions were held for the procurement of rapid DNA and gun residue testing devices.Improving the Forensic Laboratory’s effectiveness towards preventing and conducting criminal investigations is the second component of the Citizen Security Strengthening Programme (CSSP). This component is being funded at a cost of US$5.5 million through the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).last_img read more

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first_imgDeputy Charlie McConalogueFianna Fáil spokesperson on Education Charlie McConalogue says reintroducing guidance counselling to secondary schools is one of the party’s key education priorities.He was responding to a survey published by the Institute of Guidance Counsellors, which found that the most disadvantaged schools have seen guidance counselling provision reduced by 30% since 2012.“The decision to allow schools to manage guidance provision within their standard teacher allocation has been disastrous, resulting in the reduction of one-on-one guidance by an average of 26% in non-DEIS and 30% in DEIS schools”, explained Deputy McConalogue.“Guidance counselling suffered one of the single greatest cuts in the education sector in the last decade and it has some of the greatest ramifications for children’s future. The loss of guidance counselling, particularly in less advantaged schools, where parental contributions and school fees are not available to replace the funding removed by the State, has resulted in a disjointed and inequitable system. “Unless restored, the loss of guidance counselling will continue to significantly worsen social inequalities and entrenched educational disadvantage.“As part of the Confidence & Supply arrangement to support this minority Government, Fianna Fáil has secured a commitment to ensure that guidance counselling is reintroduced to all secondary schools and we will be actively pursuing this proposal in the months ahead”.FF WILL RETURN GUIDANCE COUNSELLING TO SCHOOLS – McCONALOGUE was last modified: May 16th, 2016 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Charlie McConaloguedonegalguidance counsellinglast_img read more

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