AG floats possibility of tougher laws against domestic violence

Attorney General Anil Nandlall

By: Jarryl Bryan

With domestic violence and other social ills currently posing a problem in Guyana, Attorney General Anil Nandlall has revealed that these are some of the things the Law Reform Commission will examine, to determine whether legislative changes are the answer.

When the former Government passed the Law Reform Commission Act in 2016, it structured the body so that only lawyers could be on the Commission.

But the PPP/C Cabinet has approved a proposal to have the Law Reform Commission Act amended to allow persons with varying expertise on the body.

This can include persons with backgrounds in finance or law enforcement or in the social services sector.

In fact, the Attorney General noted the importance of having a Law Reform Commission that reflects the wider society.

“The Law Reform Commission reforms the laws of the country and the laws cater for much more than the executive government of the day. It caters for every single person in the country. So, to monopolise that appointment power only in the executive and for the executives to determine by themselves who should constitute that commission, in my humble view, that is not what should be reflected,” he asserted.

And according to Nandlall, this Commission will be better equipped to examine the various social ills of society, including domestic violence.

“It might not be the only solution, but [new legislation] can be one of the measures which can bring some type of rectification to the problem at hand. And that is the main task of the Law Reform Commission. To go into the Amerindian areas for example and see what are the main problems confronting that part of our society,” the Attorney General said.

“Is suicide a problem? It does appear to be a problem. Will legislation play a part in addressing this problem? Is domestic violence a problem? Yes, it is a problem. Is the legislative landscape currently in place, functionally equipped to address the problem in all its manifestations? And I can go on to give other examples,” Nandlall added.

The Law Reform Commission Act, which was piloted by former Attorney General Basil Williams, was enacted in January 2016.

The amended Law Reform Commission Bill is just one of several Bills the government plans to table by this year-end.

Other Bills to be laid in the National Assembly are the Small Business Bill, the Bail Bill and the Hire Purchase Bill.