‘We have done all we could do’ – Legal Council wants money to extend Hugh Wooding Law School

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By Kurt Campbell

[www.inewsguyana.com] – Some called it limbo others said wavering but the question still remains; will 25 law students from the University of Guyana (UG) gain admittance to the Trinidad-based Hugh Wooding Law School for the academic year 2014?

 Queen’s Counsel (QC) Jacqueline Samuels-Brown.
Queen’s Counsel (QC) Jacqueline Samuels-Brown.

According to Jamaican Queen’s Counsel (QC) Jacqueline Samuels-Brown, the Council for Legal Education, which had taken to decision not to accept the 25 student any longer on an automatic basis, is awaiting the decision of the CARICOM Heads of Government who recently discussed the issue at its 25th intercessional meeting in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

She explained that since 2009, the admittance of students into the school has always been a Heads of Government decision.

CARICOM’s Chairman, St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves had said at the recent meeting that he would write  the Council, stating that 25 Guyanese Law students should be admitted to the School for the academic year 2014.

It is the hope of these students that the Council will accede to this request.

Earlier in the year, the Council for Legal Education indicated that it will not guarantee any of the 25 places usually offered to Guyanese students at the Law School.

In explaining this decision taken by the Council, Samuels – Brown said the number of students coming into the law school from the University of the West Indies (UWI) has increased and the school expects 300 graduates this September.

In recommending a solution to the problem,Samuels – Brown said she personally wrote to the CARICOM Secretary General and copied all Attorney Generals where she suggested that the school be given money to extend its facilities as a capital investment.

“We haven’t heard back, we would wish to accommodate everyone but in doing so we must ensure that standards are maintained and be realistic.”

The Jamaican added that the school was built to accommodate fewer than 200 students and expressed fear that overcrowding can lead to serious health and safety problems.

“We have been trying to cope with the increase, we introduced a two stream system, morning and afternoon to accommodate this, then we introduced the seminar system where instead of eight and nine there were almost 20 students in a session… we have done all we can to accommodate the increase but we have reached what we fear is a limit.”

She said there possibility exist where students from UWI, who are guaranteed a space would not take up that space and as such UG students will be admitted on that ‘space available basis’.

“We want to accommodate everybody and we are glad it was raised at the Heads of Government… we are now awaiting their decision.”

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