In light of the recent announcement that a law school will be established in Guyana to cater for Guyanese law students, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has indicated that many important questions are still unanswered by the Government.
“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? Would graduates of this proposed law school be eligible to practice anywhere else in the Caribbean, or the world for that matter?”.
According to a party press statement, these questions are all relevant and remain unaddressed by the Government, highlighting that the establishment of a law school outside of the regional structure is an “extraordinarily serious matter.”
The party stated that before the project could commence, these questions need to be taken into consideration by the Administration, noting that the Attorney General, Basil Williams is a member of the Council of Legal Education and ought to be aware that the Council “has spent millions of dollars in doing feasibility studies and programmatic work regarding the future of legal education in the region” as well as the current inadequacies of existing law schools.
The Memorandum of Understanding was on January 11, 2017 signed by AG Williams and other key stakeholders to pave the way for the establishment of a Law School here. This would be made possible through a public-private partnership between Guyana and the University College of the Caribbean (UCC) and Law College of the Americas (LCA).
Williams was quoted in the media as saying that he welcomed the partnership, while indicating that the new law school will be named “JOF Haynes Law School of the America (JHLSA)” and that the Government is hoping to have the school functioning by 2018, following the outcome of a feasibility study.
Meanwhile, under the previous administration (PPP/C), Guyana had intended to construct a “regional law school.” This, according to the PPP/C is still supported and the party is urging the Government to “to pursue this endeavor rather than the one upon
which which they intend to embark,” since it is considered more “prudent”. (Ramona Luthi)