Guyana never received permission to construct Law School

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Chairman of the Council of Legal Education (CLE) of the West Indies, Reginald Armour of Trinidad and Tobago has informed Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams that the Council never gave permission for Guyana to construct the Joseph Haynes Law School (JHLS).

“New Chairman of the Council of Legal Education (CLE) Reginald Armour of Trinidad and Tobago is relying on a report of a Review Committee which included former Chancellor Carl Singh, to now say that the CLE never gave permission to Guyana to establish its own Law School after decades in the belief of the Guyanese legal fraternity,” a statement from the AG’s Chambers on Saturday, December 9, 2017, noted.

However, the AG’s statement has prompted a sharp response from his predecessor, Anil Nandlall, who accused him of lying to the Guyanese people.

According to the AG, Guyana and its partners continue to pursue the feasibility study and a request was made to the Chairman of the CLE to furnish Guyana formally with the criteria to operate law school, however, the Chairman is yet to do so “and has raised some other purported concerns of the Review Committee to wit, it was agreed that Council should defer establishing new Law Schools.”

According to the AG’s statement, “this however is not a decision of Council. The matter will be on the agenda of the next Executive Council Meeting of the CLE in the new year.”

But Nandlall in a statement in response to the AG on Saturday evening said when the announcement was made by the Attorney General in January 2017, that the Government of Guyana will establish its own law school and that a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed to this effect by the Attorney General and representatives of two obscure institutions, he questioned this development on two grounds.

“Firstly, that legal education in the Caribbean is administered by the Council of Legal Education of the West Indies under a common law enacted in all member states, including Guyana; that this Council operates three (3) law schools in the region; that no new law school can be established without the permission of the Council; and that any law school so established runs the risk of not being recognised by the Council and the host country that does so can be liable for violation of treaty obligations.

“My second query related to the academic integrity of the two institutions that were party to the aforementioned MOU, since they are unknown to this part of the world. My interest here related to the quality of the legal education which would be offered.”

According to Nandlall, the Attorney General mocked at his concerns and publicly stated that Guyana recently obtained permission from the Council to establish its own law school.

“As a former Executive Member of the Council with more years standing than the current Attorney General, I knew what the Council’s position was and possibly still is, in relation to the establishment of additional law schools in the Region and I therefore knew, immediately, that he [Williams] was lying and that he never obtained such permission as he claimed.”

Nandlall alleged that “the truth of the matter is that he never obtained the permission of the Council of Legal Education to establish a law school in Guyana. When I exposed this in January, he then lied to the nation by saying that he did. Now his lie has been exposed.”

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