APNU/AFC spent millions on Law Reform Commission; no Commissioners appointed – AG

—swift appointment to be made to avoid project being pulled by IDB

—refashioning of legislation to be done

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Hon. Mohabir Anil Nandlall

Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs, Hon. Mohabir Anil Nandlall, today disclosed that the PPP/C Government is working to ensure two projects, the previous administration failed to execute, are not pulled by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

“A project-US$8M project-dealing with the overcrowding of prisons…and there’s another project that deals with the establishment of a Law Reform Commission,”

the AG disclosed during a virtual press conference on Saturday.

He explained that both projects have not been performing in accordance with the schedule of work, and talks with the IDB, revealed that the organisation is dissatisfied with the slothful progress.

Millions were allocated to the projects by the IDB, and monies spent, however, no substantial work was ever done AG Nandlall relayed.

“Since 2016 the Laws Reform Commission Bill was passed and a Law Reform Commission was established. In 2017, it was staffed…eleven staff members earning $2.138Million per month and there’s no Law Reform Commission. They have rented a building…from 2017 to now, $28Million has been spent to rent a building and no work has been done.”

Also, he said that while in opposition, the PPP/C Government called for the Law Reform Commission, to be one representative of all Guyanese, through a multi-stakeholder nomination.

However, this call was ignored and the then government said all Commissioners would be appointed by the President. To date, millions have been expended and the commission is yet to see the appointment of a Commissioner.

“A total of $92,312,351 has so far been expended on this project and there is no Law Reform Commission. Nearly a hundred million dollars of taxpayers’ money since 2017, has so far been expended. They’re saying the President appoints all Commissioners, a Commissioner has never been appointed,” the Attorney General detailed

He pointed to the fact that the PPP/C had advocated a much better approach that allowed for the nominees to come, from the various sectors in the country

“For example, a nominee from the Guyana Bar Association, a nominee from the Private Sector Commission, a nominee from the Labour Movement, a nominee from a religious organisation, a nominee from the University of Guyana.”

To prevent the discontinuation of the project by the Bank, the Ministry of Legal Affairs will be prioritising the quick appointment of Commissioners, to the Law Reform Commission.

“We will need to move quickly to establish this Commission, to appoint Commissioners. We plan to appoint quickly under the previous legislation,  to not have the project pulled by the Bank. But we will, in due course, refashion the legislation, so that a Law Reform Commission can be properly constituted and constituted in a manner that reflects the best interest of our country.”

It was also disclosed that the Office of the Attorney General is also working on several key legislations. A Hire Purchase Act has so far been completed, while the Modern Arbitration Act, the Bail Act, Sentencing Guideline and Modern Securities Bill are being completed. Also, a Local Content Policy Legislation is underway and the Petroleum Commission Act is currently at the Parliamentary level.

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