Dec 02, 2021 News
By Renay Sambach
Kaieteur News – Guyana’s draft Local Content Bill is among several other draft of bills that are to be presented in the National Assembly this month, Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall has disclosed.
He was at the time speaking on his Tuesday night programme ‘Issues in the news.’
According to the Attorney General other bills that will be tabled before the New Year are: Amendments to the Power of Attorney Act, the Condominium Bill and the Human tissue and transplant bill.
“So, as you know, Parliament recess has come to an end and we will soon be in Parliament. The dates are not fixed as yet, but we have to have more than one sitting of the Parliament before the year ends and we have some very important pieces of legislation that we have to take to the Parliament before the end of the year,” Nandlall explained.
Local Content Bill
Local Content is an important strategic issue in the oil and gas industry and already public opinions on the current draft bill have been scathing. The AG explained that the Bill is one of the most important pieces of legislation that will be tabled and enacted in Parliament, in Guyana’s independent history, since its newfound oil wealth.
He even stated that the Government has to ensure that the riches of the country remain in Guyana to be enjoyed by its citizens, and the ways in which others have done that around the world in the petroleum industry is by implementing a Local Content Legislation.
Minister Nandlall pointed out that ExxonMobil, Shell, Hess and all the other major companies working in Guyana’s petroleum sector are all foreign companies that can do untold damage unless they are regulated.
He then explained that the Local Content Bill is a law that is intended to regulate the way the companies that are operating in Guyana’s oil and gas sector, employ persons, buy services and the way that they procure goods. “This law sets out a framework which mandates the purchase of goods, the procurement of services and the employment of persons to mandate that Guyanese have the highest priority in the process,” the AG said. The Bill addresses services such as transportation, rentals, restaurants, medical, legal, accountancy and engineering. If passed into law it will also regulate how the companies procure goods from Guyanese companies and citizens.
Power of Attorney Act amendment
Meanwhile, regarding the Power of Attorney bill, AG explained that a Power of Attorney is a written authorisation to represent or act on another’s behalf. The holder of a Power of Attorney is given the broad legal or limited authority to make decisions about the principal’s property, finances, or medical care.
Earlier this year the Attorney General had announced the Government’s plan to strengthen laws and systems to combat property fraud. According to reports, dozens of persons lost their properties by way of fraud, through no fault of theirs, but owing to a lack of understanding of the laws and systems that govern the sale and transfer of properties.
Even the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) had also highlighted the high incidence of property fraud in Guyana and had called upon the National Assembly to address this issue.
During his recent broadcast, the Attorney General said, “We promised important alterations to existing land law in relation to protecting proprietary interest from fraud. I spoke a lot and at length on the high incidence of fraud in Guyana in relation to immovable property where persons lose transports by fraud.”
To this end, he disclosed that the Government has two pieces of legislation that will go to the Parliament shortly that seek to address that issue. He then highlighted that based on evidence, Power of Attorneys are one of the instruments that are being used to perpetrate these frauds. As such he noted that the Power of Attorney Act is being amended to strengthen the law, so that a person who goes to execute a power of attorney must produce his photograph and identification card, passport or driver’s license, which must be attached to the document when presented at the Deeds Registry. The person will also be asked to sign before a notary public.
It was further detailed that the Donee, a beneficiary of a Power of Attorney will also be required to sign before a notary public, and it will be compulsory form the person to produce a photograph and their ID card, passport or driver’s license, which will be kept as records at the Deeds Registry.
In June 2021, Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal, had announced that the amendment of the Condominium (Regulation and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act begun.
It was reported that the Bill was first prepared, then it went through the consultative process with key stakeholders, like the banks, insurance companies and other relevant institutions that will have to give their input.
The Minister assured his listeners on Tuesday that the Condominium Bill is also ready and will be taken to Parliament this month. The amendment of the Act will pave the way for owners of condominiums and duplexes to access titles for their land.
The amendments will also allow commercial banks to be able to accept the properties as collateral and offer loans to the homeowners for expansion and insurance companies will also be allowed to issue policies for protection.
Currently the Act caters for the regulation and division of properties into parts that are to be owned individually and parts that are to be owned in common, to make provision for the use and management of such properties and to make provision for the assignment of certain properties owned by the Government.
Human Tissue and Transplant Bill
Lastly, the Attorney General disclosed that the other Bill that will be tabled in the National Assembly soon is the Human Tissue and Transplant Bill. It should be noted that Guyana’s legislation on organ transplant, particularly from cadaveric or brain dead patients, has been in draft format for close to a decade, with no serious steps taken towards implementation.
Dr. Kishore Persaud, the Head of Department, Multi-Organ Transplant and Vascular Access Surgery at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), has been among the group of local medical professionals lobbying for implementation of the legislation, given the benefits, which it can have on the increasing number of patients in need of urgent transplant surgeries.
The Attorney General’s Chambers had stated earlier this year that Guyana is currently bereft of legislation governing, authorising and regulating the donation of tissue and organs to persons who meet the criteria of either being a donor or recipient of such donation.
It was noted that in order to protect the citizens of Guyana from being victims of trafficking in human organs and tissue, the legislation will propose to address the prohibition of trade in human tissue, organs and blood and as a result will create offences and penalties to monitor such dire incidents.
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