Following is the full text of a statement released by former Attorney General Mr Mohabir Anil Nandlall
It was drawn to my attention that Attorney-General, Mr. Basil Williams has blamed a decision of the former People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration to discontinue contributions to the Hugh Wooding Law School (HWLS) as the reason for the dilemma facing Guyanese law students:
“I could tell you that they all (HWLS) feel that because we don’t pay and contribute, it is unfair for us to have our students taking up places at the school… It is a question of the discontinuance of paying any contribution whatsoever, and we inherited that situation and are trying to address it…” Mr. Williams said. See link: http://www.guyana-times.com/?
These statements constitute another demonstration of the shocking lack of understanding, or the gross misunderstanding by the Attorney- General over matters for which he holds responsibility. It is clear that he does not understand the nature and purpose of the contributions to which he refers. Had he done so, he ought to appreciate that it has no causal connection whatsoever with the admission of our UG LLB graduates into the Hugh Wooding Law School.
Historically, each member territory of the Council of Legal Education of the West Indies made an annual financial contribution to the Council, depending upon the number of seats allocated to each territory, for their students to be admitted to the Regional Law Schools. In this regard, Guyana’s quota has always been 25. The financial contribution which each territory makes is in turn used to subsidized the tuition fees which these students are required to pay at the Law School. Guyana stopped this contribution nearly 15 years ago. It never affected the admission of our students into the Law School. All that it meant was that the Guyanese student no longer benefitted from a subsidized tuition fee and therefore, have been paying the full tuition fee since.
In fact, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago are the only two countries in the Caribbean that are not indebted to the Council of Legal Education in relation to this contribution. Millions of US dollars are owed by the other territories. This is reflected in the Annual Financial Statements of the Council of Legal Education, a copy of which is sent to every Attorney- General of the region, who are all ex- officio Executive Members of the Council. It is obvious that Mr. Williams never read his.
Ironically, during all of the negotiations which I have had with the Council for the admission of UG Law graduates, my most potent argument has been that apart from Trinidad and Tobago, the largest influx of revenue into Hugh Wooding Law School comes from the Guyanese students who pay their full tuition fees and it is this revenue that carries the bulk of the other students whose Governments fail to pay the subsidies for their students. Therefore, I used Guyana’s non- contribution as an asset not a disability.