Guyana law school for discussion at next CLE meeting

-AG’s Chambers still to supply requested statement on claimed revocation of permission

A month after writing Attorney General (AG) Basil Williams SC for a copy of a statement issued by his office on the claimed about-face by the Council of Legal Educa-tion (CLE) on the establishment of a local law school, the body’s Chair-man says the request is still to be fulfilled.

However, CLE Chair-man Reginald Armour SC also says Guyana’s plans for the establishment of a law school will be discussed at a Council meeting next month.

“The only response I can give you is that… the Law School in Guyana is on the agenda to be discussed in Barbados in the first week in February by the Coun-cil,” Armour said when contacted via telephone by Stabroek News.

Armour is based in Trinidad.

In January last year, the Guyana Government  signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University College of the Caribbean (UCC) and the Law College of the Americas (LAC) for the construction of the JOF Haynes Law School. The approximately US$75 million investment, it was said, would end years of problems that local students have had entering regional law schools to complete their studies.

Since then, Williams has consistently insisted that the project was going ahead and had said that construction would start as soon as the University of Guyana identified a spot at the Turkeyen Campus.

However, in a statement issued on December 9th, 2017, the AG’s Chambers implied that the establishment of the school was in limbo as the CLE was now saying that no permission was ever given to Guyana. Former AG Anil Nandlall and now retired Chancellor of the Judiciary Carl Singh were blamed for the turn of events. Both Nandlall and Singh have since distanced themselves from the issue and denied the claims made by Williams.

Armour subsequently said that he was “very concerned” because the state owned Sunday Chronicle report based on the release contained “a number of very significant inaccuracies.”

He had related to this newspaper on December 11th that he wrote to Williams asking for a copy of the press release that the newspaper had referred to.

Armour stressed that he intended to correct the inaccuracies of the newspaper report but “wanted to see what it is that the Attorney General said… while I consider the terms which I will use to correct the inaccuracies.”

Further, he said that because of the history and the fact that the matter has been “carefully documented” as recent as at a CLE meeting which took place in Trinidad in September last year, he needed to see firsthand what Williams said.

His response, he had explained, will be cross-referenced with what the Attorney General has said against the CLE’s records of the facts.

According to the CLE Chairman, he did not want to preempt or assume that the AG was correctly quoted or referred to.

“What I can say categorically is that there are a number of very serious significant inaccuracies in the Sunday Chronicle report. Beyond that I don’t want to say anything further. I want to first see what the Attorney General said in his press statement. I am concerned,” he reiterated.

Stabroek News asked Armour on Monday whether he had received a copy of the release as was requested. He responded in the negative. “No, I have not received anything from Mr. Williams. That is as much as I am prepared to say at the moment. The Council will be dealing with the matter,” he stressed.

The release issued by the AG’s Chambers had said Armour was relying on a report of a Review Committee, which included Singh, to now say that the CLE never gave permission to Guyana to establish its own law school.

It also informed that while efforts were being made to have a feasibility study done, Armour was yet to formally honour Guyana’s request for the criteria to operate a law school and has raised some other purported concerns of the Review Committee.

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