- We intend to make Guyana an arbitration capital’ – Attorney General
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, (DPI) – Attorney-general and minister of legal affairs, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, SC, said there have been a number of transformative changes in Guyana’s legal landscape, as part of PPP/C government’s promise to overhaul and modernise the system. The attorney general was speaking during an interview on Wednesday at the High Court.
“On the legislative landscape, we have one of the most aggressive legislative agendas in recent times, in this country. As I said, in the National Assembly, right now, waiting for debate are a number of transformative pieces of legislation.
“A bail bill which is perhaps the most modern manifestation of the law as it relates to bail across the Caribbean and even the Commonwealth. We have a higher purchase bill that is there, we have an e-transaction bill, we have a constitutional reform bill that will trigger the important process of constitutional reform, to be taken to the parliament is the most modern Arbitration Bill in the Caribbean,” the attorney-general underscored.
The legal affairs minister explained that the government has launched a revision of the laws of Guyana. Law revision is implementing and adding to the law, and inserting in the law the various amendments that would have been made to the existing laws; as well as consolidating new legislation enacted by the National Assembly.
“The last exercise of this nature re-concluded in 2012 and we plan to conclude another incarnation by the end of 2022. Because from 2012 to 2022, you would appreciate that a number of pieces of legislation and law reforms would have taken place. The law revision exercise, now, is to put them into one document, incorporate them, insert them into one volume of laws which will be the consolidated laws of Guyana.”
This will be made accessible to the public. As it relates to the arbitration proceedings, minister Nandall noted: “The arbitration proceedings are ongoing. There are procedural matters that are being attended to by the lawyers representing both sides, including finding agreement on the personnel who will sit on the arbitration panel…they have to comply with a number of procedural steps and they (the lawyers) are in the process of doing that.”
The government is making major steps in the legal landscape and has earmarked multiple areas for the building and renovation of courthouses across the country.
“In the pipeline…. plans are afoot to construct a modern and massive judicial complex that will accommodate in Demerara- the Court of Appeal, the High Court, land court, and all the attendant registries, and support apparatus in one central location.”
The 2020–2025 manifesto of the government outlines its strategy for constitutional reform and encourages the participation of all Guyanese in the review process.
We intend to make Guyana an arbitration capital’ – attorney general
Meanwhile, the government will continue to pursue a transformative legislative agenda designed to give the nation a cutting-edge legal system to support its development.
“To be taken to the parliament is the most modern Arbitration Bill in the Caribbean. In fact, it is described as a CARICOM model, because we intend to make Guyana an arbitration capital of not only the Caribbean but possibly Central America.”
Arbitration is the ideal method of dispute resolution for the oil and gas sector and a modern legislation would instill confidence in international investors that Guyana can be a competent arbitration hub.
The attorney-general asserted that the government is confident in its ability to provide the necessary infrastructure, educate the necessary employees, and prepare the system to deal with conflicts that may arise in the industry. In support of the Arbitration Bill, he highlighted that a series of training exercises commenced last year for professionals, the judiciary, and the private sector.
He explained, “Sensitising the population of the concept of arbitration, the importance of arbitration, and the benefits we can derive from making Guyana an arbitration destination. Many of the huge contracts that are being entered, both at the level of infrastructure as well as in the oil and gas sector have arbitration clauses that require this arbitration to be taken to different parts of the world if the contracts require arbitration.”
Attorney-General Nandlall also noted that Guyana does not currently have a modern arbitration infrastructure to meet international standards.
“We intend to change that. The arbitration industry alone is a multi-billion-dollar industry.”
The PPP/C government remains committed by repealing outdated laws and creating a contemporary legal framework. The government has set out on a rigorous mission to modernise Guyana’s legal system.