Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Basil Williams has been hauled to the courts over his failure to appoint a Governing Board for the Deeds and Commercial Registry. After hearing the matter, the court ordered that Williams appoint the members of the Governing Board of the Deeds and Commercial Registries Authority. The proceeding was filed by former Attorney General and now Parliamentarian Anil Nandlall.
Currently, the Governing Board is non-functional, is not properly constituted and has not held a meeting for over a year.
The members of the Board whose tenure have expired, have not been replaced by the Minister, in accordance with and as mandated by, Section 6 of the Deed and Commercial Registries Authority Act.
Nandlall asked the courts for “an Order Nisi of Mandamus compelling the Minister of Legal Affairs to appoint the Governing Board of the Deeds and Commercial Registries Authority, a statutory body corporate, in accordance with and mandated by Section 6 of the Deeds and Commercial Registries Authority.”
He also asked that the courts grant “a Writ of Mandamus compelling the Minister of Legal Affairs to appoint the Governing Board of the Deeds and Commercial Registries Authority, a statutory body corporate, in accordance with and mandated by Section 6 of the Deeds and Commercial Registries Authority.”
Nandlall outlined that the Deeds and Commercial Registries Authority Act 2013, Act No 4 of 2013, establishes the Deeds and Commercial Registries as a corporate body, to establish and promote the efficient and orderly operation of the Deeds Registry and the Commercial Registry, to establish the conditions governing the employment of officers and employees of the Authority, to provide for funding of the operations of the Authority, and for connected matters.
He also explained that the Act establishes a Governing Board of the said Authority which shall have the function of ensuring the proper and efficient performance of the functions of the Authority.
The Governing Board shall consist of a Chairman appointed by the Minister; the Registrar of Deeds; the Registrar of the Commercial Registry; a nominee of the Finance Ministry; a nominee of the Housing and Water Ministry; a nominee of the Guyana Bar Association; a nominee of the Guyana Association of Legal Professionals; and a nominee of the Private Sector.
Nandlall argued that the tenure of the members of the Governing Board who were last appointed on or about June, 2013, expired on or about June 2016, and they were never re-appointed by the Minister in accordance with Section 6 of the said Act.
He argued that the aforesaid conduct constitutes multiple breaches of the Deeds and Commercial Registries Authority Act 2013, Act No 4 of 2013, Act and/or omission to perform duties imposed by the said Act, constitute an abuse of power and conflict with the policy of the Act and constitute misfeasance in public office.
He said as a consequence, “there is inefficiency in the services rendered at the said Registries which have an adverse impact on my practice and upon my ability to discharge my duties to my clients, competently and diligently.”
Additionally, he said the breaches to which he alluded constitute infractions of the law and amount to unlawful conduct by public officers for which, “as an Attorney-at-Law, I feel compelled to seek rectification in the courts.” (Guyana Times)