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Chairmanship of Council of Legal Education possibly heading to Caricom leaders

Chairman of the Council of Legal Education, Mr. Reginald T. A. Armour SC

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs , Basil Williams on Monday signaled that Caribbean Community (Caricom) leaders might be asked to consider the future of the Chairman of the Council of Legal Education (CLE), Reginald Armour over his perceived handling of Guyana’s desire to establish a local law school.

“If this Chairman continues to act in the manner in which he is acting against the interest of Caricom, we would have to take the matter to the Caricom Heads again but I am not sure Guyana will be comfortable with such a person remaining in office to chair this organisation,” Williams told a news conference.

The Attorney General continues to insist that the Caribbean’s CLE had give Guyana approval in 2017 to establish the Joseph Haynes Law School on the campus of the University of Guyana.

In early December 2017, the Attorney General said in a statement that the CLE Chairman was relying on a report of a Review Committee to say that the CLE never gave permission to Guyana to establish its own Law School after decades in the belief of the Guyanese legal fraternity. Williams said the Chairman has essentially stated that the Council should defer the establishment of more law schools beyond those in Trinidad, Jamaica and The Bahamas.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams

Williams said Guyana’s former Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall “activated” him to place the issue of whether Guyana had received approval for the establishment of a local law school on the CLE’s agenda and issuing a press statement allegedly without the Council’s approval.

Williams stated that it was unprecedented for Treaty organisation to take instructions from the opposition and that such an action could have implications for continued tenure. “The action of this person is unheard of of a person in an international public service situation…and we are wondering whether it would be in our interest for the person to continue,” he said.

The Attorney General said Guyana was pushing ahead with plans for the establishment of the law school including the demarcation of land at UG’s Turkeyen Campus. “We have started far apart but we are very close now. Once we have the land, we will try to ensure that we move ahead to alleviate the sufferings of the law students,” he said.

Guyana and its joint venture partners-University College of the Caribbean (UCC) and the Law College of the Americas (LCA) -are conducting a feasibility study to determine whether Joint Venture Partners should proceed to execute the establishment of the Joseph Haynes Law School in Guyana.