Retired Judge BS Roy to chair Law Reform Commission
Government has appointed a seven-member Law Reform Commission and Retired Justice of Appeal BS Roy has been selected to head the entity.
This was revealed by the Attorney General’s Chamber, Legal Affairs Ministry, on Saturday.
In a statement, the AG chambers said that President Dr Irfaan Ali, in the discharge of his functional responsibilities pursuant to the Law Reform Commission (Amendment) Act No 2 of 2021, approved the appointment of the Chairman and Members of the Law Reform Commission.
While Retired Justice of Appeal BS Roy was appointed Chairman, other members of the Commission include former Guyana Bar Association President, Attorney Teni Housty; former High Commissioner of Guyana to Canada and People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) stalwart, Clarissa Riehl; Director of School of the Nations, Brian O’Toole; former Commissioner of the Public Procurement Commission, Attorney Emily Dodson; Attorney-at-Law Roopnarine Satram, and Member of the Board of Directors of Demerara Mutual, Deenawatie Panday.
These newly appointed members of the Commission are expected to be sworn in shortly.
According to the AG Chamber, these nominees were chosen after consideration of recommendations received from the various stakeholder organisations, consulted pursuant to the provisions of the Law Reform Commission (Amendment) Act No 2 of 2021, and in accordance with the said Act.
The Law Reform Commission is an advisory body to the State and can recommend to the Government of Guyana amendments to existing laws, new legislation, and the repeal of existing legislation.
During his weekly online programme – “Issues In The News” – Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister, Anil Nandlall SC, last week said that operationalisation the Commission will allow for widespread consultations with and input from stakeholders. This, he said, will drive the law reform process.
“One of the responsibilities of the Law Reform Commission or its major responsibility would be to receive recommendations from civil society, from stakeholder organisations and from right across the spectrum of the Guyanese population… So that when we put law reform forward and proposals in the Parliament, we don’t necessarily have to consult again because these recommendations would have received the imprimatur of the wider population because the law reform itself can do the kind of consultations and so on, which are required…,” Nandlall had explained.
The establishment of a Law Reform Commission is part of a fundamental component of the US$8 million Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) funded Support for the Justice System Programme. The IDB shall fund the functioning of this Commission for a specified period and the Government of Guyana is expected to take over funding thereafter.
Law Reform ensures that the country’s laws are updated at periodic intervals, and captures and embraces the aspirations, exigencies, social maladies and vicissitudes of the society as it evolves. A Law Reform Commission in Guyana is long overdue and exists in most Commonwealth countries. This institution is expected to ensure that the country’s laws are updated regularly and embrace new and emerging legislative trends across the world.
When the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) took office in August 2020, it pledged to move swiftly to establish the Commission after it reviewed the Act and this was done with the Amendment of the Act which was assented to by the President on February 16, 2021.
The Commission will be operating out of a Government of Guyana building located at Lot 91 Middle Street, Georgetown. A Secretariat for the Commission has already been established and staffed.
The Law Reform Commission Act was enacted in January 2016 under the former A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government, which failed to fully establish the entity since then.
However, Nandlall had revealed after taking office in August 2020 that while no Commissioner was appointed to sit on the Commission, approximately $98.3 million was spent on rental, payment of staff and other costs for the phantom entity. (G8)