Sep 27, 2022 Letters
This is big news indeed, and deserving accolades must be heaped on Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister, Anil Nandlall, SC, for bringing Guyana closer to the setting up of the Council of Legal Education (CLE)-approved law school. When this news hit the media, I was not that surprised, as the AG, from inception, proved that he knows what he is about. Let’s recall that back in 2017, Nandlall, a former CLE member, had to ‘clear the air’ when he was scapegoated by the then AG, Basil Williams, who peddled a customary self-defence lie, that a CLE-approved law school was not a promised realisation because of Anil Nandlall. It was then that Anil cleared the air by explaining that, “The truth of the matter is that he (Williams) never obtained the permission of the Council of Legal Education to establish a law school in Guyana.” Anil also added that “When I exposed this (the first lie), he then lied to the nation by saying that he did.” So, it seems, that after the rightful procedure was expectedly followed by Anil, things will start to happen.
First, I think that a law school here in Guyana will be most welcomed by all Guyanese. The prestige of having the CLE-approved institution is just a natural thing and with that comes the removal of so many other expenses-travel and accommodation and the actual external fees. For example, every year, Guyanese are faced with enormous financial burdens, including $6,616,548 in tuition/compulsory fees for the two-year programme offered at the law school. In some schools in the Caribbean, it is even more expensive. In fact, many Guyanese did not pursue legal studies because of one or all of these factors. My hope then, is that this school will be ‘fast-tracked’ and thus, allow for so many potential students waiting to be enrolled. I mean it has been years of delay, but now , according to the AG, “… progress is finally being made…” in setting up this law school in Guyana, following a meeting between top legal and judicial officials in Guyana and the CLE in Bridgetown, Barbados. Along this line of its expediting, the AG detailed that “This request was favourably considered, and the Council made a decision to write the Government of Guyana shortly, informing of this decision and setting out the criteria and other requirements which the Government will have to satisfy.”
Editor, the second thing is that the quality of legal education will not be compromised as the Attorney General pointed out. He explained that “… the Government of Guyana is proposing that the law school be a Council institution to be managed and administered by the CLE but that the Government will provide the land and buildings based upon criteria and specifications set by the Council.” So, unlike a proposal made by his immediate erstwhile predecessor AG, Basil Williams, SC, and that I alluded to, the law school will be established by all the necessary protocols and I am sure we will soon be having non-Guyanese applying to this institution. As a matter of fact, the venture is not to be viewed in isolation. The AG noted that it merges with the Government of Guyana’s commitment to promoting Guyana as an attractive offshore education destination. Meaning that, “the proposed law school is expected to attract regional and international students, while also easing the overloading, particularly at the Hugh Wooding and Norman Manley Law Schools.” It is for sure a win-win situation. When said and done, Guyana will be alongside the Hugh Wooding Law School, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago; Norman Manley Law School, Kingston, Jamaica; and Eugene Dupuch Law School, Nassau, Bahamas. As we know all of this translates to the arrangement, governed by a Treaty which is incorporated by legislation, so that in all member states, “Under this arrangement, all holders of a recognised Bachelor of Laws degree are admitted to these law schools.” This eases this whole ‘nonsense’ at times of ‘equivalency duress.’
Why? Simply because with a Legal Education Certificate (LEC) (from any of these schools), there comes the right to practice before the Courts of Law in Member States. After all, education as a human right, is a powerful driver of development, and one of the strongest instruments for reducing poverty and improving health, gender equality, peace, and stability. It delivers large, consistent returns in terms of income, and is the most important factor to ensure equality of opportunities. And what better way can there be to achieving all of this-almost everything must be rooted in the law.
Exxon has to put up a sign board across the Demerara Harbour Bridge to tell Guyanese what % of revenue we are getting from the Stabroek Block!
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