UG law students placement at Hugh Wooding in limbo

-to be discussed by Caricom Heads

Caricom Heads of Government have agreed to discuss UWI’s decision to not guarantee UG’s 2014 batch of law graduates placement at the Hugh Wooding Law School when they meet this weekend, GINA says.

For years, an agreement between the University of the West Indies’ Council for Legal Education (CLE) and the University of Guyana (UG) enabled 25 law graduates from UG automatic placement in the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad and Tobago, and government recently shared ambitions to have this number increased.

“The Council however, recently took the decision that UG’s 2014 batch will not be guaranteed any place at the institution,” the Government Information Agency said in a statement last evening. Suffice to say, this decision has dampened ambitions to increase the number of automatic placements Guyana sends to Trinidad and Tobago.

The agreement between UG and CLE ended in December 2012 and new negotiations were to be held. It is unclear what has happened with these negotiations. Prior to the agreement, UG students had also encountered difficulties gaining access to Hugh Wooding since Guyana is not part of the CLE.

The aim of UG in these talks was to retain places for 25 Guyanese in addition to those non-Guyanese who merited admission to Hugh Wooding.

Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall, in a statement to GINA yesterday, pledged that he “will spare no effort in resolving the recent decision.” He told the agency that several interventions have already been made via Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett.

Such interventions include a written request to Caricom Secretary General Irwin LaRocque asking him to intervene in the matter. Government has also sought to engage the Caricom Heads of Government to address the issue. As a result, a decision has been taken to have the matter addressed when the Heads meet this weekend, Nandlall told GINA.

GINA says that Nandlall met yesterday with UG Vice-Chancellor Jacob Opadeyi, who lauded government’s intervention, and the fact that the said intervention has already resulted in the discussion of the matter by Caricom Heads this weekend.

“Our students are not just Guyanese; we have students from outside of Guyana who come and study with us, so our interest is to fight for the rights of our students so that they can become professionals. If we deny them the opportunity to have professional education we will not be able to move on as a country,” GINA quoted Opadeyi as saying.

Meanwhile, Nandlall told GINA that the matter is being treated as a priority since the current reality “puts in jeopardy the life and welfare of a number of students who would be completing the LLB programme at the University of Guyana in the year 2014.”

Furthermore, he said that Council’s decision threatens UG’s entire law programme since future students as well as those already in the programme are also currently not guaranteed placement at the Hugh Wooding Law School.

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