Free movement discussed during visit of French Guiana Bar team to AG

In photo from left to right are JoAnn Bond, Deputy Chief Parliamentary Counsel; Jeremy Stanislas, Member of the French Guiana Bar Association; Travise Tracey-Lecante, Honorary Consul of Guyana in French Guiana; Basil Williams, SC, MP, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs; Lucie Louze –Donzenac, Head of Delegation, former President of the French Guiana Bar Association and Marcel Alex Leblanc, Member of the French Guiana Bar Association. (MoLA photo)

A delegation from the French Guiana Bar Association yesterday paid a courtesy call on the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams and free movement in the Guiana Shield was discussed.

The team was headed by Lucie Louze-Donzenac, and included the former President of the French Guiana Bar Association, Marcel Alex Leblanc as well as Jérémy Stanislas. They were accompanied by Travise Tracey-Lecante, Honorary Consul of Guyana in French Guiana.

According to press release from the Ministry of Legal Affairs (MoLA), the focus of the visit was the hosting of a seminar in October by the French Guiana Bar Association and is targeted at lawyers who reside in the Guiana Shield (Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana and Amapa Brazil). The aim of the visit is to foster deeper relations between members of the bar of the various jurisdictions to find solutions to solve human rights issues that exist in the Guiana Shield.  One of the human rights issues highlighted by the team was overcrowding in the prisons in French Guiana.

 Other issues highlighted and discussed during the visit were: family rights, rights of minors and the need for the removal of barriers that hinder business between countries in the Guiana Shield. The team indicated that foreigners were experiencing difficulties in obtaining the requisite permits to do business which ultimately hinders investment. It was suggested that there should be a circulation permit for citizens of the Guiana Shield and perhaps an agreement between the countries to tackle this issue. 

The Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, also expressed the need for a greater relationship between the countries that would ensure free movement of persons and services. He further stated that Guyana is now fertile ground for investment owing to its nascent oil industry.

Williams also reminded the group that Guyana has signed on to the Hague Conventions, namely the Apostille Convention and the Hague Family Law Conventions dealing with intercountry adoption, recovery of child support and other forms of family maintenance, abduction and parental responsibility and measures for the protection of children.  These Conventions he stated would facilitate the ease of doing international business by removing the legal obstacles as well as ensure that the protection and best interests of the child remain paramount.

The MoLA stated that the visiting delegation expressed its satisfaction with the visit while noting that France has extended some of the Hague Conventions to French Guiana.

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