As part of its capacity building and technical assistance mandate, UNODC GMCP Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean Ocean (PO) engaged Martin Polaine and the team at Amicus Legal Consultants to deliver a Solve: Immersive maritime crime exercise for Guyanese judiciary, prosecutors and coastguard. The immersive exercise ran alongside the Tradewinds 2020.

The Solve: Immersive exercise was developed in consultation with national counterparts in Guyana and focused on an intelligence-led response to drug trafficking, with the key components featuring operation planning, interdiction, evidence gathering, trial preparation and selected legal argument.

Martin Polaine led the workshop which examined the legal and practical challenges in investigating and prosecuting maritime crime cases in Guyana. Based on a scenario, prosecutors and coastguard were asked to work, in a series of breakout sessions, through the intelligence phase, pre-boarding legal and operational issues and advice to the officers prior to ‘boarding’.

Each session required an appointed decision maker to arrive at and justify decisions at each stage. Those decisions were recorded on to the Solve system, together with the underlying rationale and were challenged by the facilitator (Martin Polaine) and the Guyanese magistrates.

The exercise took the participants through a ‘simulation’ approach from the outset through to the first phase of the trial process itself; each phase focussed on particular key aspects or components of handling intelligence led operations, key maritime crime issues (legal and operational), Guyanese legal framework, charging practice, pre-trial preparation and preliminary challenges (drafting and oral submission) before the members of the Guyanese judiciary.

The workshop helped to highlight a number of legal and practical challenges in addressing maritime crime as well as cementing existing good practice in Guyana.

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