Law reform commissioners to be appointed soon -3 candidates shortlisted from interview panel

After a long wait, Government seems poised to appoint the Commissioners for the Law Reform Commission with three candidates for the positions having been shortlisted from the interview panel.
This was related by Attorney General Basil Williams during an interview with the media on Monday. According to Williams, these commissioners will be appointed after President David Granger returns from Cuba, where he is seeking medical treatment.
“We hope to activate them. They’ve shortlisted three persons. When the President returns, it is actually for the names that were identified by the panel… so when the President the only thing left is to appoint these commissioners.”
Pressed for the names of the candidates, all Williams would say is that they are experienced individuals in drafting laws.
In January 2016, Government had approached the National Assembly, passed the Law Reform Commission Act no. 4 of 2016 and appropriated millions for the Commission’s establishment.
According to the Act, the Commission will have the duty to “keep under review all the law applicable to Guyana with a view to its systematic development and reform, including in particular the modification of any branch of the law, the elimination of anomalies, and the repeal of obsolete and unnecessary enactments.”
It is also mandated by the law to receive and consider suggestions for the reform of the law. These suggestions, according to the Act, can be made on the invitation of the Commission and can come from Judges, public officials, lawyers and the general public.
The Commission also has to “prepare and submit to the Minister specific programmes for the examination of different branches of the law with a view to reform including recommendations as to whether such examination should be carried out by the Commission or some other body.”
In order to fulfil its functions, it is allowed to set up law reform committees that would examine particular aspects of the law to make their recommendations. These committees, according to Section 8 (2) of the Act, do not have to be restricted to legal professionals.
During his budget presentation, Williams had argued that the Commission would undo the laws Guyana inherited from the United Kingdom before independence, “many (of which) are archaic and irrelevant to our society.”
There are a number of legislative acts likely to be scrutinised and changed if the Commission comes on stream. This includes the laws pertaining to the Public Procurement Commission (PPC), laws criminalising same sex relations and laws regarding possession of marijuana.
The parliamentary opposition has been vociferous in declaring that nominees to the commission should be made from different groups.
In its recommendations, the People’s Progressive Party had noted that the Association of Legal Professionals, the University of Guyana, Private Sector Commission, the religious community, labour unions, human rights groups and the political Opposition should be represented.