New Attorney to push human rights agenda
By Bibi Khatoon
One year after coming out top of the class at the Hugh Wooding Law School, Attorney-at-law Saeed Hamid is set to graduate with first class honours from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, UK, after achieving straight A’s in his Master of Laws (LLM) in International Human Rights.
Hamid was today admitted to the Bar by Justice Ramlall.
Hamid began studying law because “everyone” who noticed his argumentative streak urged him to.
Eventually, he developed a passion for human rights.
He is poised to use his profession to represent vulnerable groups in Guyana while pushing for a review of laws affecting members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community, juvenile offenders and those who are abused.
“Human rights…is the perfect catalyst to use to make a positive impact on legislative reform and policy-making,” Hamid told News Room.
While the scholar plans to begin his career in Criminal Law, he said, “the long-term goal is to try to make some legislative reform and bringing our laws more into conformity with international human rights standards.”
One of the major issues on his agenda is advocacy for better access to sexual and reproductive health.
Second is the issue of heavy penalties instituted against juvenile offenders.
“The (penalties) are not very reformative; it does not help to take away the problem to why juveniles are committing crimes or involved in gangs and these kinds of issues.
“So, I think we need to take a step back and reform our policies,” he told the News Room.
Also, he said sexual offenders need to have access to increased and improved counselling.
“You can’t treat every criminal as the same because there are different motives, different reasons, different circumstances that a perpetrator may be exposed to.
“So understanding that will lead to helping to eradicate the problem,” Hamid suggested.
Regarding the LGBTQ community, he pointed to the cross-dressing law which remains a part of Guyana’s laws and “encourages discriminatory attitudes towards that community.”
Hamid also sees his Masters in Human Rights contributing to the emerging oil and gas industry by representing persons affected by issues in this sector.
“With oil and gas sector, you have emerging environmental and social issues.”
At Hugh Wooding Law School, Hamid was the recipient of several awards for outstanding performance, including the coveted Guyana Government Prize for the Best Performance by a Student from Guyana. Other awards include The Book Specialist Prize (Best Overall Performance – Academic and Extra-curricular Activities, shared with George Charlemagne) and The Justice Ronnie Boodoosingh Prize for Best Performance in the Human Rights Law Clinic.
Mr Hamid also made the Principal’s Roll of Honour for achieving 6 or more ‘A’ grades from the 11 courses carried during the two years of study at the Law School.