I am happy to learn from the Attorney General Anil Nandlall’s facebook page that his government is anticipating a reversal of the decision made earlier this year by the Council of Legal Education (CLE) to not renew the agreement to have top students of the University of Guyana automatically secure a place at the Hugh Wooding Law School (HWLS).
This is because the Chairman of Caricom, Ralph Gonsalves, had written the Chairman of the CLE, Jacqueline Samuels-Browne to do so as a result of a directive issued by the regional heads of government at the 25th Inter-Sessional Meeting held in St Vincent between March 10-11. Incidentally, Jacqueline Samuels-Browne, QC of Jamaica is a member of the Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry.
President Donald Ramotar should be congratulated for raising the burning issue with his Caricom colleagues at the St Vincent meeting in which he got full support from other regional leaders, especially Belize Prime Minister, Dean Barrow, who was among the first batch of West Indian trained lawyers. Belize is also encountering difficulties to get their law students to be admitted to the Norman Manley Law School.
Dr Gonsalves’ letter to the CLE Chairman also mandated the Council to complete a thorough review of legal education in the Community before the next academic year to resolve deeper issues concerning legal education, including access and the role and function of the CLE.
It seems me be that the 25 UG law students would be accepted at HWLW for the 2014-15 academic year. This is great news for the students.
As one of the earlier graduates of the HWLS and one who represented St Vincent and the Grenadines and Belize at meetings of the CLE, I am forced to respond to a comment made by one Taj Seetaram, an English-trained lawyer, who said that his application to be admitted to practice in Guyana was rejected by the government under the Forbes Burnham administration. I do not know when Mr Seetaram qualified as a lawyer in the UK, but there was a cut-off period for UK trained lawyers to be admitted to practise in the Caribbean after the Council of Legal Education was established in 1970. If they qualified after the mid-1980s they would have to attend one of the laws schools in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago or The Bahamas.