Law Reform Commission Bill among others to be tabled by year-end – Attorney General

Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall

Attorney General Anil Nandlall in a recent interview stated that several new bills will be tabled in the National Assembly by the end of this year. Among them, he noted, is the Law Reform Commission Bill, which will amend the Law Reform Commission Act.
The APNU/AFC Government had established the Law Reform Commission Act, but failed to set up the Commission. In fact, Nandlall had revealed that the former Government splurged approximately $98.3 million on the Law Reform Commission with nothing to show for the spending.
The millions of dollars were spent on the rental of a building to house the Commission, payment of staff and other costs. Nandlall said that the bill will correct the glaring deficiencies in the Act.
“The Act, for example, does two things that are offensive. First, it resides in the President the power to appoint the entire Commission, consulting only with the Minister. We feel that that is bad. A Law Reform Commission represents the wider society, and therefore, consultations must be had with the Private Sector, labour movement and religious community among others,” Nandlall noted.
Under the current law, only legally-trained persons are allowed to be part of the Commission. Nandlall said that stance gives a “very myopic” view of what a Law Reform Commission should be. He also said the Commission embraces different facets of society and should have included, an economist and a sociologist along with individuals from other academic disciplines.
Other bills to be laid in the National Assembly are the Small Business Bill which will cover small businesses through financing and a regime of protection, as they move from stage to stage. The Bail Bill, which is currently in circulation for consultation, will also be placed before the National Assembly.
According to the Attorney General, the Hire Purchase Bill will also be tabled in the National Assembly. He added that this will give wider latitude and cover consumers who are making purchases on credit.
The Minister of Legal Affairs revealed that an amendment to the Insurance Act is currently being crafted. The amended Act will allow third parties in a motor vehicle accident to have greater coverage.
“Right now, if you are a passenger in a minibus and it gets into an accident, you are not covered adequately. This intervention, in the form of an amendment, allows for greater coverage of third party,” he said.
In the meantime, Nandlall informed that various Ministries are also working on respective bills. He assured that Guyanese can look forward to the Natural Resources Commission Bill and the Solid Waste Management Bill. Both are currently being fine-tuned.
Cabinet is currently constructing the 2021 legislative agenda.