Attorney General, (AG), Basil Williams, S.C is accusing former Chancellor of the Judiciary, Carl Singh, and PPP executive member, Anil Nandlall of undermining effort to establish a local law school.
In a release to the press last Saturday, the AG outlined what he called a massive attack against the establishment of the school.
According to recently uncovered information on the matter, that new Chairman of the Council of Legal Education (CLE), Reginald Armour of Trinidad and Tobago is relying on, a report of a Review Committee, which included former Chancellor Justice Carl Singh, is now saying that the CLE never gave permission to Guyana to establish its own Law School.
According information released from the Ministry of Legal Affairs, the former Chancellor was the only head of Judiciary on this Review Committee established in 2009. He was allowed to continue to serve on the committee by the new Chairman, until he retired from that office.
In September, 2017, the Review Committee which comprised the Principals of the three Law Schools under the CLE; a Senior Counsel from Barbados, former Chancellor Carl Singh, the new Chairman and the Guyana delegation which included Attorney-General, Basil Williams were present at the meeting in which a decision of a Council Meeting made in September 2016 was revisited.
That meeting was chaired by previous Chairman Jacqueline Samuels-Brown S.C., of Jamaica who concluded with some “determination had been made, granting Guyana permission to establish a Law School.
The new Chairman (Amour) reportedly raised no objection about the decision taken at the time, which later led to the signing of a Memorandum Of Understanding, (MOU) with the University College of the Caribbean (UCC) and the Law College of the Americas (LCA) on January 11, 2017 in Guyana.
MOU provides for a feasibility study to be undertaken to determine whether the Joint Venture Partners should proceed to execute the establishment of the Joseph Haynes Law School (JHLS) in Guyana.
The AG noted however that Chairman Amour later raised contentions about the establishment of the law school after he received complaints from Nandlall.
He accused Nandlall of launching a massive attack against the establishment of the law school.
“By email dated January 23, 2017 the new Chairman of the C.L.E Mr. Reginald Armour S.C. revealed that Nandlall had complained to him by email dated January 21, 2017 about the signed MOU to establish the Joseph Haynes Law School (J.H.L.S) in Guyana.
Mr. Armour assured Mr. Nandlall he would put the matter on the agenda of the CLE’s Executive Council Meeting to be held in Jamaica on January 27, 2017.”
Kaieteur News understands that there was some discourse over the matter between Guyana’s AG and the new Chairman of the CLE (Amour) which led to the issue being placed on top the agenda of the next executive Council Meeting of the CLE, in the New Year. Nandlall has in the meantime released a statement explaining his stance on the matter.
He said that it is a matter of public record that when the announcement was made by the Attorney General in January 2017, that the Government of Guyana will establish its own law school and that a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed to this effect by the Attorney General and representatives of two obscure institutions, “I questioned this development on two grounds.”
Nandlall based his contention on the fact that legal education in the Caribbean is administered by the Council of Legal Education of the West Indies under a common law enacted in all member states; including Guyana and that no new law school can be established without the permission of the Council.
He noted that any law school established in that manner runs the risk of not being recognised by the Council and the host country that does can be liable for violation of treaty obligations.
Nandlall went on to say that as a former Executive Member of the Council with more years standing than the current Attorney General, “I knew what the Council’s position was and possibly still is, in relation to the establishment of additional law schools in the Region.
“I therefore knew, immediately, that he was lying and that he never obtained such permission as he claimed. As a result, I dispatched a letter to the Chairman of Council of Legal Education of the West Indies on the 21st January 2017.”
The government had announced that efforts were made to establish a local law school after Guyanese law students faced a number of issues related to the entrance and acceptance to the Hugh Wooding Law School (HWLS).
Just recently, the fees of a Guyanese Law Student increased to TT$94,000.00 (ninety four thousand Trinidad and Tobago dollars) or US$15,000.00 (fifteen thousand United States Dollars) or G$3,000,000.00 (three million Guyana dollars).
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