Deeds and Commercial Registries Board appointed

…Minister can instruct Board – AG

As members of the Deeds and Commercial Registries Authority Board were appointed to their posts, Legal Affairs Minister and Attorney General Basil Williams indicated that the relevant Act gives his office the authority to give “instructions” to the Board.

He made these comments at the AG’s Chambers on Monday where six members of the Board received their certificates of appointment.

These appointments mean that the registrars can look after their registries which should improve timeliness of service, one of the issues that the AG highlighted had persisted in the past years.

The Deeds and Commercial Registries Authority Board members received their certificates of appointment on Monday

“We look forward to even more efficient services being offered and with this in mind, we expect that there will be a free and full intercourse with Minister, Board and Registrars so that the business of the people could be done,” the Legal Affairs Minister told the press.

With Cabinet’s approval given just weeks ago, those officially appointed to the Board were Chairperson Christine McGowan; Private Sector representative Norman McLean; Komar Dorasami, representing the soon-to-be enacted Berbice Bar; Sharon Small of the Guyana Bar Association, and nominees from the Communities Ministry and Finance Ministry – Aretha Henry and Gillian Pollard respectively.

The AG noted that current stipulations provided for six board members, but added that once the Deeds and Commercial Registries Authority (Amendment) Bill 2017 is passed in the National Assembly, three other members would be included.

“This board is a board we had desired to widen and extend for many varied reasons; the Bill has been stuck in the Parliament, it comes up on June 15 [and] we hope to pass it and so we could have three additional members added,” AG Williams explained.

These members will include representatives from the Business Ministry, the Chief Valuation Officer and a representative from the Guyana Revenue Authority. The Attorney General related to reporters that while the Board has a “corporate body” status, its semi-autonomous nature as guided by the Deeds and Commercial Registries Authority stipulation gives rise to the Minister’s input.

“The Deeds and Commercial Registry Authorities Board comes within a corporate body. It’s a corporate body, separate and distinct from the employees. The Act provides for the respective registrars to look after the day-to-day running of their respective registries, the Board also has its functions, but the Act provides that the Minister responsible for the Authority could give directions to the Board and of course, the Board has to carry out the directions,” Williams stated.

“When you hear people saying that this is an independent body, it means it’s in terms of its corporate status. But these are semi-autonomous agencies; there is no problem in this case, because the Act provides for the Minister to give instructions to the Board and so, in this regard, we believe that the Board has to work with directions in terms of policy,” he further maintained.

Aside from emphasising his semi-authority over the Board, the Legal Affairs Minister brushed aside claims of interference in the work of Deeds and Commercial Registries department. Zanna Frank will take up the Deputy Registrar of Deeds post, while Nicole Prince is acting Registrar of the Commercial Registry. Established in 2013, the Deeds and Commercial Registries Authority is an independent body, which seeks to promote the efficient and orderly operation of the two bodies. The current Board will serve a two-year term from June 15, 2017 to June 14, 2019.