Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall has said that once the current legislation regarding the Law Reform Commission is taken to the Parliament and amended accordingly, the Government will move immediately to appoint the members of the Commission.
“I have spoken a lot about the Law Reform Commission, it will be soon appointed,” Nandlall said during a recent programme he hosted on his social media page.
According to Nandlall, his Ministry has proposed a few amendments to the current Act, which was passed under the APNU/AFC administration, to make the Commission more broad-based.
He explained that the amendments being proposed would make the Commission more representative of the society as it will be constituted with persons who are trained in different disciplines “so that you don’t have a Commission only of legally trained minds; which was what the original Commission would have been under the current legislative framework”.
The Attorney General expressed that the Commission would represent a wider cross-section of society and can treat with matters that are not only technically legal, but other areas such as social and fiscal legislations.
Such a commission, he argued, would be far better equipped to discharge the functions of a law reform commission as against one that is comprised of only legally trained persons.
The Law Reform Commission seeks to reform and modernise Guyana’s laws—the majority of which were inherited from its colonial masters and are long overdue for review.
The APNU/AFC Government had established the Law Reform Commission Act, but failed to set up the Commission. In fact, Nandlall had revealed that the former Government splurged approximately $98.3 million on the Law Reform Commission with nothing to show for the spending.
Millions of dollars were spent on the rental of a building to house the Commission, payment of staff and other costs.
After the PPP/C Government took office in August, Nandlall had promised to move swiftly in setting up the Commission, but before doing so, the glaring deficiencies in the Act would need to be corrected.
“The Act, for example, does two things that are offensive. First, it resides in the President the power to appoint the entire Commission, consulting only with the Minister. We feel that that is bad. A Law Reform Commission represents the wider society, and therefore, consultations must be had with the Private Sector, labour movement and religious community among others,” Nandlall had noted.
Under the current law, only legally-trained persons are allowed to be part of the Commission. Nandlall had contended that that stance gives a “very myopic” view of what a Law Reform Commission should be.