Jan 17, 2017 News
The signing by the Government of Guyana of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with two
institutions, the University College of the Caribbean, and the Law College of Americas for the establishment of a local law school begs a number of important questions which have not been addressed by the Government.
This was according to the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C)’s Member of Parliament and Former Attorney General (AG) Anil Nandlall, yesterday at the Opposition party’s Headquarters in Robb Street, Georgetown.
Nandlall told media operatives that provision of a post – Literally Legum Baccalaureus (LLB- Bachelor of Laws degree) education is regionally driven, managed and governed by law: the Council of Legal Education Act.
The Parliamentarian said that this act is a common piece of legislation enacted in every Caribbean Community (CARICOM) State.
“In Guyana, it is the Council of Legal Education Act Chapter 4:04 Laws of Guyana. This piece of legislation incorporates an agreement entered into by Caribbean Governments in 1973, establishing the Council of Legal Education of the West Indies.
“This Council consists of representatives from University of West Indies, the Principals of the law schools of the region, the Attorney General of each State, the Head of the Judiciary of each State and representatives of the legal profession of each State,” Nandlall said.
He said that the CLE runs and manages the law schools which are established by the Council. Nandlall added that it is the Council that manages the Legal Education Certificate which qualifies a person to practise law in each Member State.
The Government of each Member State has agreed under this agreement to recognize persons holding such certificates as qualified to practice in the respective territories of the Caribbean, he added.
“This is the agreement and structure under which post-LLB legal education is administered in the West Indies. This arrangement is 44 years old.
“The Council of Legal Education is an institution within CARICOM. There are three law schools established under this arrangement: the Hugh Wooding Law School, in Trinidad and Tobago; the Norman Manley Law School, in Jamaica; and the Eugene Dupuch Law School, in the Bahamas,”
Nandlall questioned, “By signing this MOU, is Guyana not violating its treaty obligations with its Caribbean counterparts? Is Guyana now exiting the Council of Legal Education Agreement? Did anyone address their mind to the implications this insular move will have for Guyana at the Regional level?
“Is Guyana now violating its own laws – The Council of Legal Education Chapter 4:04 Laws of Guyana? Is the AG even aware of these profound implications? If so, did he fully apprise Cabinet of the same?”
The former Legal Affairs Minister further queried if graduates of this proposed law school would be eligible to practise anywhere else in the Caribbean, or the world or will graduates be only qualified to practice in Guyana.
He further queried the quality-control scrutiny, or what steps have been taken to verify and authenticate the academic integrity and standards of the two “virtually unknown institutions” that are signatories to the MoU.
Nandlall posited that the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams, is a member of the CLE and he “ought to know” that the Council has spent millions of dollars doing feasibility studies and programmatic work regarding the future of legal education in the region.
“He should also be aware that the current inadequacies at the existing law schools in the region have already been recognized, and that decisions have already been made to establish more law schools in the region and to expand the facilities of the existing law schools.”
Nandlall said that under the PPP/C Government, Guyana long signaled its intention to have a regional law school located here. He therefore urged the Government to pursue this endeavour rather than the one upon which they intend to embark.
“Is it not more prudent, to have a law school within the existing regional structure that would have the integrity and international recognition which law schools in the Caribbean have, rather than collaborate with some unknown quantity and establish an insular institution which can have far reaching regional implications, and whose certifications no one out of Guyana may recognize and whose future is so uncertain?”
Contacted for a comment yesterday, the Attorney General said that he has noted some of Nandlall’s comments and will host a press conference shortly to address the matter.
He said, however, that the PPP/C Government had the first jump to establish a local law school and failed to do so. Williams said that now efforts are being made to assist law students, and to bring about a change, the opposition is raising concerns.
He also pointed out the Coalition Government was successful in the resuscitation of the Senior Counsel appointments after a two-decade long hiatus.
The PPP government not conducting these appointments, Williams said, is ‘another example’ of the former regime not acting in the best interest of Guyana’s legal professionals.
Aug 03, 2021Kaieteur News – ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Cricket West Indies (CWI) has announced the players for the Rising Stars U19 High Performance Camp in Antigua. The camp has been designed to help lift...
Aug 03, 2021
Aug 03, 2021
Aug 02, 2021
Aug 02, 2021
Aug 02, 2021
Kaieteur News – It was the leading light of the 1918 Russian revolution, Vladimir Lenin, who observed that power is... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]