According to the Antigua Observer, the Guyana government Monday dismissed suggestions that the country had not received the necessary permission from the Council for Legal Education (CLE) to establish its planned JOF Haynes Law School of the Americas. There are plans to build in Turkeyen, where the University of Guyana identified 15 acres of land where the law school may be built.
Attorney General Basil Williams told reporters that although no records exist to prove that Guyana was granted permission to establish a law school, permission was in fact granted several years ago. He refuted claims by CLE’s chairman, Senior Counsel Reginald Armour of Trinidad and Tobago that Guyana was never granted permission to establish its own law school.
Former attorney general, Anil Nandlall, a former CLE member has also claimed that Guyana never received permission to establish a law school, contrary to the statements by Williams. “We are saying that no international organisation is driven by the opposition and we have an e-mail sent from him (Amour) to Nandlall assuring him that he will put the item on the agenda without consulting me, the sitting Attorney General for Guyana,” Williams said.
“We don’t have to submit nothing to no CLE until we are ready. Mr. Armour is not in charge of the CLE. Mr. Armour is a servant of the Council including the Council of Ministers who told him that he couldn’t publish no statement that he did and he had to withdraw it,” said Williams.
He said while Guyana has not received approval, or has been formally sanctioned by the CLE to operate its own law school, the government is moving ahead with the construction and operationalization of a law school here. “The CLE don’t have an archive and the conclusion, looking at materials, is that permission must have been granted,” Williams said, adding that Georgetown was in the process of conducting a feasibility study and was looking at all factors, including establishing the school under the auspices of the CLE. “Nobody can’t stop us from building a law school. It’s just that we are community minded, we are founding members of CARICOM and we feel that we have a right…,we want to build a law school here it’s too tough for our students,” he added.
He said already the University of Guyana has identified 15 acres of land at Turkeyen where the school is likely to be constructed and that a committee comprising the Chancellor and Chief Justice will likely meet with the CLE in the near future to iron out the issues.
Guyana’s feasibility study, when completed, will likely be submitted to the CLE for further consideration. Guyanese law students have to travel to Trinidad to attend the Hugh Wooding Law School where they are saddled with large tuition fees and other expenses.
Students are also faced with uncertainty annually as they wait on whether or not the 25 places which Hugh Wooding offers to Guyanese students will continue given the high number of students from other Caribbean countries.
The CLE will meet in Barbados next month.