In response to questions by Opposition Member, Anil Nandlall regarding the status of the Law Reform Commission, the Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams has indicated that the Commission is “in its final stage of readiness.”
Nandlall had questioned, among other things, whether the Law Reform Commission- which is expected to undertake the reform and development of laws applicable to Guyana- is functioning, who the appointed Commissioners are, the remuneration packages for these persons –or if they had not been appointed, what the anticipated remuneration package is- whether the Commission is provided with staff, and for the Minister to identify the positions and salaries of these persons, what the address of the Law Reform Commission is and if its building is being rented.
He also requested that a copy of that Rental Agreement be provided.
As such, by way of written response on Monday during the National Assembly, Williams said “the Law Reform Commission is in its final stage of readiness. Persons have been interviewed for the position of Commissioners. Some staff for the Commission have been hired. The Law Reform Commission Building is ready.”
Moreover, Williams noted that while no Commissioners have been hired, interviews were conducted for potential persons on the 19th and 20th of June 2018.
The Minister also asserted that “no remuneration package has been approved.”
In providing a list of persons who have already been hired by the Commission, Williams disclosed that the Law Reform Commission now has one Legal Officer, who is being paid a gross salary of $700,000, two Legal Clerks, being paid $150,000 each (gross), three typists being paid $130,000 each (gross), two Office Assistants being paid $100,000 each (gross), one cleaner being paid $75,000 (gross) and one driver being paid $120,000 (gross).
He also noted that the Commission is being housed at Lot 59 Robb Street, Bourda, Georgetown.
According to the Rental Agreement, the building is being rented from Michael and Michelle Warton at a cost of $850,000 per month for a period of one year (since December 1, 2017 to November 30, 2018).
In January 2016, Government had approached the National Assembly, passed the Law Reform Commission Act no. 4 of 2016 and appropriated millions for the Commission’s establishment.
However, the Commission was not established.
In March of this year, Government had begun the process of seeking candidates to serve on the Law Reform Commission (LRC).
In a notice published in the local newspapers, the Legal Affairs Ministry solicited applications from eligible candidates to sit on the Commission, which will be tasked with reviewing many of Guyana’s laws inherited from colonial times.
According to the Ministry, the Commission’s Terms of Reference will include “keeping under review the laws of Guyana with a view to its systematic development and reform, including in particular the modification of any branch of the law, the elimination of anomalies, the repeal of obsolete and unnecessary enactments.”
The Ministry also noted that the Commissioners, who will be employed on a full-time basis, will be focused on reducing separate enactments; simplifying and modernizing the laws of Guyana.