Nov 15, 2022 News
– Nandlall says, as Chief Justice raises concerns over arbitrariness
Kaieteur News – Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, SC on Monday said that the regulations and guidelines to support and strengthen the Legislation are being drafted.
Nandlall said that Local Content Act No. 18 of 2021 has provided a “solid foundation’ which has guided the oil and gas sector since its enactment. He said the Legislation has enabled a protective network for the interest of Guyanese and Guyanese companies operating in the sector”.
The Regulations and Guidelines are “already in draft and will now benefit from the Chief Justice’s ruling and experience garnered in the sector” while noting that the “Regulations and Guidelines will further enhance the legislative framework, as well as set out criteria which will inform the exercise of discretion and guide the decision-making processes enshrined in the Legislation.”
Nandlall said these measures will also address the conduct of operators in the sector, including their compliance levels with related Legislative and Administrative requirements, as we strive to achieve the Legislation’s core intent, that is, to protect and promote Guyana’s best interest.
On Friday, Chief Justice (AG), Roxane George-Wiltshire warned against arbitrariness due to the lack of rules and regulations in Guyana’s Local Content Act of 2021. She was at the time delivering her ruling in the Judicial Review matter against the Government of Guyana’s refusal to provide Ramps Logistics with a Local Content Certificate.
Justice George-Wiltshire ruled that the Director of the Local Content Secretariat, Dr. Martin Pertab had until noon on Monday, November 14, 2022, to issue a Local Content Certificate to Ramps Logistics.
Ramps Logistics, which is originally from Trinidad and Tobago had registered under Guyana’s Companies Act, but was denied a Local Content Certificate as required under the Local Content Act of 2021, for purportedly not being a ‘Guyanese company.’
In December 2021, Guyana passed its Local Content Legislation, which caters to locals getting first preference in the country’s oil and gas sector. The Local Content Law is intended to regulate the way companies operate in Guyana’s oil and gas sector, employ persons, buy services, and the way that they procure goods.
Under the Act, the Local Content Secretariat (the Secretariat) has been established and functions as the focal point for the monitoring, evaluation, coordination, and reporting of Local Content in the petroleum operations of Guyana. Therefore, the Secretariat’s key role is to monitor and evaluate companies’ performance with respect to the Guyanese utilization targets outlined in the Act.
However, since its passage, there have been several local content issues that were raised by the local businesses and the private sector.
The Chief Justice on Friday said, “This Act has no rules or regulations and this allows for arbitrariness.” She explained that from the time the Secretariat realised that they needed certain regulations to better execute the mandate of the Local Content Act, they should have alerted the Attorney General Chambers to get those regulations implemented.
“The Local Content Act clearly needs regulations so as to prevent arbitrary decision-making,” the Chief Justice said.
Meanwhile, on Monday Nandlall in a Press Release, said that his office has noted Justice George-Wiltshire’s ruling in respect of the legal challenge by Ramps Logistics (Guyana) Incorporated.
“We have not yet received a copy of Her Honour’s written ruling in the cause. Upon receipt, the same would be scrupulously examined for the purpose of determining, inter alia, whether there will be further proceedings.”
Further, Nandlall said that the Local Content Act “was an initial attempt to create a novel statutory framework in respect of a new undertaking, indeed without compare in the Region.”
The Attorney General said too that “we promised that it will remain under constant review and will be modified and refined with time and experience. We are satisfied that the Act provides a solid foundation which has guided the sector thus far, and enabled a protective network for the interest of Guyanese and Guyanese companies operating in the sector.”
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