‘Conforming with rule of law facilitates long-term investment, sustainable development’ – Attorney General

In the absence of law, anarchy and tyranny will prevail, thereby stymying economic development and social progress.

Raising this critical point was Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Hon. Mohabir Anil Nandlall S.C in his address to the American Chamber of Commerce’s webinar on Wednesday.

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

The webinar sought to highlight the importance of the rule of law as a foundation in a competitive business environment.

During his presentation, the Attorney General highlighted the subrules of the modern concept of the rule of law. These include accessibility; limiting of discretion; universal application; protection of fundamental rights; right of access to courts; the need for reasonableness and good faith in the power by public officials; fairness of procedure in adjudicative procedures; compliance with international obligations; an independent judiciary; and free and fair elections at periodic intervals.

Minister Nandlall related that in the third world, these concepts should not be taken for granted.

“It must be excruciatingly clear that in the absence of the rule of law anarchy and tyranny shall prevail. I do not think that anyone would dispute that in a society where there is anarchy or tyranny, economic development stagnates and social progress perishes. Such a society becomes moribund on its journey to becoming a failed state,” the Attorney General explained. He added that those “are realities to which Guyanese can relate, having endured nearly three decades of political dictatorship, rigged national elections, authoritarian rule.”

He continued, “the impact upon business is devastating. They become bankrupt, insolvent or are forced to close doors. The people of that nation either remain in that pauperised society or they find ways and means of exiting that nation. There is breakdown of the rule of law.”

The legal affairs minister reminded that no serious investor will pump money into a country where property rights are not respected, not accorded strong protection, and where there is no independent, fair and competent judiciary. As a consequence of an unstable investor climate, he said the atmosphere would not be conducive for competitive business. 

In pointing to how the rule of law impedes investment or a competitive business environment, the Attorney General referred to the three decades of political dictatorship and absence of law, and how Guyana went from the “prized jewel of the British Empire in the Caribbean” to one of the poorest countries in the hemisphere.

Further, the country’s Attorney General referred to the attempt by the former APNU+AFC Administration to rig the March 2020 General and Regional Elections.

“Despite 100 countries of the world standing on the side of democracy and the rule of law in Guyana, the fraudsters persevered for six long months. It was the rule of law and an independent judiciary, more particularly the Caribbean Court of Justice, that rescued Guyana from the precipice of destruction.”

Noteworthy, His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali has promulgated the rule of law and maintaining a positive investor climate as one of the tenets and goals of his government.  President Ali has also committed to strengthening Guyana’s democracy by moving towards a more ‘inclusive, transparent and open’ form of governance.