Govt to retain int’l consultant to draft legislation for petroleum sector

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall says the Government would be retaining the services of an international consultant to draft a collection of legislation for the oil and gas sector.

The Attorney General made this announcement when he laid out the PPP/C Government’s legislative agenda in the National Assembly on Monday.

The legislation would regulate the new and emerging sectors, while at the same time revamping archaic legislations to complete a new and modern legal framework for Guyana. He said that every area of economic activity would be targeted for legal reforms.

In the housing and hospitality sector, a regime of legislation dealing with zoning, urban planning, condominiums and town houses will be addressed. Minister Nandlall said in the health sector, approximately 25 pieces of legislation have been identified to be dealt with. This includes a new Public Health Act, a new Mental Health Act, Organ Transplant legislation, a new Food and Drug Act.

The Agriculture sector would see a Food Safety and a Food Security Act being endorsed to ready Guyana to export agricultural products. Meanwhile, at the level of Local Government, the Solid Waste Management Bill would be completed soon, and public consultations will be held in this regard.

In addition to the Hire Purchase Bill which was referred to the parliamentary select committee, an Anti-Dumping Bill, a Movable Property Security Bill and an E-Transactions Bill are currently in draft.

“This latter Bill is to prepare the public sector to engage in E-transactions and for payments to be made for Government services by means other than cash and cheque,” AG Nandlall said.

In order to strengthen the country’s ability to protect its borders, Minister Nandlall said a Bill is being drafted for the establishment of a Border Patrol Unit, which will supplement the Guyana Police Force and Guyana Defence Force in securing and protecting Guyana’s borders.

Similarly, in the Legal sector, a raft of legislation will be promulgated, including a new Arbitration Bill, a new Juvenile Justice Bill, a Bail Bill and Sentencing Guidelines.

“And of course, a slew of Amendments will be done to our election laws, to make the electoral process more credible and transparent and to hold the staff of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to a higher standard of care. This year will also see work starting on constitutional reform. The Constitutional Reform Committee of the National Assembly will remain the main vehicle by which these reforms will be driven,” AG Nandlall added.

Additionally, the Legal Affairs Ministry would be reviewing the Procurement Act not only to strengthen the public procurement process, but to create a more level playing field to accommodate small contractors.

The AG said within a few months, the Judicial Service Commission would also be up and running, the Committee of Appointments have already provided their nominees. A new and modern Public Service rule is also be worked on to further protect the interests of public servants.

This year will also see the appointment of the Law Reform Commission, whose first task would be to revise the current laws of Guyana and to produce a new consolidated volume of those laws.