first_img…candidates sought to sit on bodyAfter a long wait, the Government has finally begun the process of seeking candidates to serve on the Law Reform Commission (LRC).In a notice published in the local newspapers, the Legal Affairs Ministry is soliciting applications from eligible candidates to sit on the Commission, which will be tasked with reviewing many of Guyana’s laws inherited from colonial times.According to the Ministry, the Commission’s Terms of Reference will include “keeping under review the laws of Guyana with a view to its systematic development and reform, including in particular the modification of any branch of the law, the elimination of anomalies, the repeal of obsolete and unnecessary enactments.”The National Assembly may be forced to revisit a number of laws if an implemented commission fulfils its mandateThe Ministry also noted that the Commissioners, who will be employed on a full-time basis, will be focused on reducing separate enactments; simplifying and modernising the laws of Guyana.In January 2016, Government had approached the National Assembly, passed the Law Reform Commission Act no. 4 of 2016 and appropriated millions for the Commission’s establishment. But the Commission was not established, with its future in limbo up until Jordan’s announcement.According to the Act, the Commission will have the duty to “keep under review all the law applicable to Guyana with a view to its systematic development and reform, including in particular the modification of any branch of the law, the elimination of anomalies, and the repeal of obsolete and unnecessary enactments.”It is also mandated by the law to receive and consider suggestions for the reform of the law. These suggestions, according to the Act, can be made on the invitation of the Commission and can come from Judges, public officials, lawyers and the general public.The Commission also has to “prepare and submit to the Minister specific programmes for the examination of different branches of the law with a view to reform including recommendations as to whether such examination should be carried out by the Commission or some other body.”In order to fulfil its functions, it is allowed to set up law reform committees that would examine particular aspects of the law to make their recommendations. These committees, according to Section 8 (2) of the Act, do not have to be restricted to legal professionals.During his budget presentation, Attorney General Basil Williams had argued that the Commission would undo the laws Guyana inherited from the United Kingdom before independence, “many (of which) are archaic and irrelevant to our society.”There are a number of legislative acts likely to be scrutinised and changed if the Commission comes on stream. This includes the laws pertaining to the Public Procurement Commission (PPC), laws criminalising same sex relations and laws regarding possession of marijuana.However, the fact that the bill allows the President to make appointments to the Commission did not sit well with the parliamentary Opposition. Former Attorney General Anil Nandlall has been vociferous in declaring that nominees should be made from different groups.In its recommendations, the People’s Progressive Party had noted that the Association of Legal Professionals, the University of Guyana, Private Sector Commission, the religious community, labour unions, human rights groups and the political Opposition should be represented.The Opposition has also raised persistent question about the usage of the appropriated monies for the non-existent Commission. At least $20 million had been included in the 2017 Budget Estimates for the purchase of office furniture, laptops and desk top computers and to rent a building. At the time, the building had not even been identified to the public.last_img

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