Nandlall challenges AG to approach CARICOM over local law school issue

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… assures that it will be one of the greatest regional embarrassments to Govt

Shadow Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall on Wednesday challenged the Attorney General (AG), Basil Williams to approach the CARICOM Heads of Government with his claims that the Council of Legal Education (CLE) and the Opposition People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) are conspiring with regards to the setting up of a local Law School in Guyana.

Former Attorney General Anil Nandlall

Nandalall, in a press statement assured that if Williams goes through with it, “it will be one of the greatest regional embarrassments to this Government.”

This comes on the heels of Williams making continuous assertions that he was granted permission from the CLE to build a local Law School, to the point of having already signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Law School of the Americas (LCA) and the University College of the Caribbean (UCC) for the establishment of the JOF Haynes Law School.

The AG- in addressing the ‘delay’ in Guyana acquiring the permission to set up the local law school- said at a press conference on Monday last that the CLE Chairman Reginald Armour had placed the issue of whether Guyana had received approval for the establishment of a local law school on the CLE’s agenda last year.

According to him, a press statement was also issued in this regard without the Council’s approval.

But more than that, Williams is alleging that former Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Nandlall, was behind Armour’s move to put the matter on the agenda.

This, he argued, was an unprecedented move, since the CLE Chair did not consult with him, but rather with an Opposition member.

Further, Williams asserted that such a move taken by a treaty organisation could have implications for the Chairman. As such, he hinted that Guyana could perhaps take this matter to CARICOM to have that body consider Armour’s perceived handling of this issue.

Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Basil Williams

According to Nandlall however, Williams “will perhaps go down in history as one of the most incompetent persons to have ever held public office in Guyana or indeed anywhere else.”

He posited that “by now it has become clear that Mr. Basil Williams did not even know that Guyana requires the permission of the Council of Legal Education (CLE) of the West Indies in order to establish a local law school which would meet the region’s acceptance. As a result, in blissful ignorance he misled the government and announced publicly, that Guyana would be establishing its own local Law School.”

In his statement, Nandlall explained that when the matter first appeared in the press, he was the one to query about Guyana’s failure to receive the permission of the CLE to establish such an institution and eventually cautioned against proceeding along such a path, unilaterally.

“Mr. Williams boldly asserted that he obtained permission of the Council. This remains a blatant misrepresentation. I drew the matter to the attention of the Council. The Council raised the matter with him and to the utter shock of the Council, he informed them that they (the Council) granted Guyana permission to establish a Law School” said Nandlall.

At that time, the Council, in order to comply with due process, agreed to search its record for this alleged permission.

However, after several months they reportedly found no such permission, and Nandlall maintained that “none was granted.”

Nevertheless, according to Nandlall, Williams still contended that he was granted such permission by the Council.

“If such permission was granted, it must be in some form of communication to him, either in a letter, email, minutes of meetings, or even a text message on a cell phone. All he needs to do is to produce it and put the matter to rest. But he cannot because no such permission was granted,” Nandlall said.

Recently, former Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Carl Singh was recorded in the media denying knowledge of permission being granted for same.

“I was never part of any Review Committee discussion on a proposed Law School for Guyana nor have I ever contributed in any form or manner to the preparation and release of any report by the Review Committee which addressed the proposed Law School for Guyana,” said Singh in a statement.

Today, Nandlall posited that instead of revealing the “truth” which is that he “lied in the first place”, Williams continues to “clumsily blames me, former Chancellor of the Judiciary, Carl Singh and the Chairman of the CLE. In fact, he delusionally suggests some conspiracy between the /chairman of the CLE and the PPP. He now threatens that this matter will be taken to the CARICOM Heads of Government. I publicly challenge him to do so.”

Nandlall further noted that whenever the “AG’s incompetence is unmasked, he conveniently finds others to blame and lies unashamedly in order to avert responsibility.”

There are presently three laws schools in the Caribbean offering the Legal Education Certificate (LEC). These are the Norman Manley Law School in Jamaica, the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad and Tobago, and the Eugene Dupuch Law School in The Bahamas.

Government, in January of 2017, announced it would start a project to establish the JOF Haynes Law School of the Americas.

The project comes after some two decades of lobbying for an alternative to the three existing laws schools currently servicing the Caribbean region.

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