Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds has said there were over 16,000 samples awaiting processing at the Forensic Science Centre as of September 25.
Hinds was responding to an oral question from Opposition Senator Jayanti Lutchmedial on Tuesday.
Lutchmedial asked the minster for the number of biological, toxicological, narcotics samples, and items for firearms analysis awaiting processing at the centre.
Hinds said the number of biological samples awaiting processing is 6,983; 2001 in toxicology; 97 in narcotics; and 6,920 firearms analyses.
“In respect to the biological samples, on March 7, 2018, the biological section (of the centre) was temporarily closed due to health and safety issues…and other infrastructural deficiencies.” He said a brand-new centre was established to remedy those issues.
Hinds said during the period of closure, the unit continued to receive samples from the police service.
“This state of affairs is undesirable,” he said, adding he is working with the ministry to eliminate the backlog.
He said he is confident that the new digitised process being implemented will help deal with the “untenable state of affairs” that has arisen over the years.
“We are working to resolve this. We understand its critical role in the justice system. There are many criminals to deal with in this land.”