Chairman of Caricom, St Vincent Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has asked the Council of Legal Education (CLE) to accept UG’s top 25 graduating law students as has been the practice for their Legal Education Certificate (LEC) in the 2014/2015 academic year.
Gonsalves made the request in a letter to Chairman of the CLE Jacqueline Samuels-Browne, which was dispatched on March 31, following the conclusion of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) 25th Inter-Sessional Meeting early last month. Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall had indicated that President Donald Ramotar had requested that the issue be added to the meeting’s agenda.
In a press statement issued last week, Nandlall said that the matter was discussed and it was resolved that the Caricom Chairman would write to the Chairman of the CLE conveying the views and decisions of the Heads of Government in the matter.
The Heads agreed that the Chairman would write the CLE chair requesting that the council accommodate the automatic admission of the top 25 Guyanese graduates for the academic year 2014/2015. It is unclear if there has been any response to the letter and this year’s batch of UG students remain in limbo.
The letter also noted the precarious position Guyanese and other non-University of the West Indies (UWI) students have been placed in by the council’s decision to deny entry to all but UWI law students, and called for a review of the provision of legal education in the Community before the commencement of the next academic year to resolve existing issues.
“It is also of tremendous concern that in the current scenario, admission to the practice of Law in the CLE Member Countries is restricted to the graduates of one institution,” Gonsalves asserted. However, the chairman expressed optimism that “the review will result in positive developments for legal education and the practice of Law in the Community.”
According to the press release, Nandlall said that “the Government of Guyana eagerly awaits a response from the Chairman of the Council of Legal Education. We expect the response will be favourable to the Guyanese graduates. Government remains ready, able and willing to work with the University of Guyana, the University of the West Indies, the Council of Legal Education and any other stakeholder to bring a speedy and long-term resolution to this matter.”
In February the CLE, citing capacity issues, voted to deny all non-UWI students entry into the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad.