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Guyana to hold consultations on private international law- President Granger

Chief Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards (right) and Madam Justice Roxanne Bernard (left) at the opening ceremony of Hague Convention Centre.

Chief Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards (right) and Madam Justice Roxanne Bernard (left) at the opening ceremony of Hague Convention Centre.

President, David Granger says Guyana will first have to hold consultations on the pros and cons of the various Hague Conventions on child protection and business-related laws.

“We have to commit to understanding more fully the legal implications and ramifications of the adoption of these conventions of the (Hague) Conference, a process that must be preceded by consultation with national stakeholders,” he said.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Basil Williams announced that Chief Justice (ag), Madame Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards and Madame Justice, Roxanne George as Hague Network Judges as part of Guyana’s commitment to joining the Hague Conference on Private International Law

Addressing  the opening of the Hague Convention Conference at the Pegasus Hotel, the President  said that although Guyana has already enacted several laws related to child protection and family law, the legal architecture is “far from finished.”

The President said Guyana has to commit to improving existing child protection laws and create the enabling environment for commerce and trade. “Guyana looks to this conference for guidance on the steps which may be taken to help to improve legal certainty and predictability in trade,” he said.

Guyana has already enacted Status of Children Act, Child Protection Act, Adoption of Children Act, Sexual Offences Act and Custody, Conduct, Guardianship and Maintenance Act.

Latin America and Caribbean Regional Director for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Maria Cristina Perceval said the region needs to commit strongly to Private International Law to protect all citizens especially children who are vulnerable to abduction most likely by someone they know. “The impact of abduction can be devastating and long-lasting for both the children involved and their family members left behind,” she said.

Secretary General of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, Christophe Bernasconi explained that investors need to know that there is legal  certainty and predictability. He said foreign investors need to know the rules of the game before doing business here such as the laws that apply to cross-border transactions, court that will have jurisdiction, what they can do with a Guyanese judgement to enforce it abroad, and cross-border legal cooperation including access to evidence and testimony.

The Hague Conference aims to create the legal architecture among signatory countries to improve legal certainty and predictability in trade contracts and giving assurances to exporters and importers in regional and international markets. “We are interested in learning how the relevant conventions could improve the business environment and competitiveness of our own products,” the Guyanese leader said.

The Hague Convention of October 5, 1961 abolishes the legalization of foreign public documents and provides for a simplified authentication system, and recognises a parent company’s registration documents in its home country.

The conference is the third and largest regional conference of its kind. There are approximately 22 delegates from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the wider Caribbean region attending. Those delegates are Ministers of Legal Affairs, Attorney Generals, Judges and other legal experts.