Guyana looking to become a major Arbitration Centre
The office of the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs is pursuing a model that could see Guyana becoming the hub of arbitration in the Caribbean and Latin America.
The process will involve the modernisation of Guyana’s Arbitration Act, to address both domestic and international arbitration.
Attorney General, Hon. Mohabir Anil Nandlall, said Guyana becoming a petroleum nation will attract a host of multinational companies. Therefore, the country has to prepare its legal architecture to accommodate the new influx of investors.
“Many companies in the modern world do not like to resort to the ordinary litigation process in the court system, they prefer their disputes by way of arbitration,” the AG said recently.
He noted that the contracts of many of the companies currently operating here state that disputes will be settled through arbitration in New York, Washington DC or Canada.
However, he said, “We don’t want that to happen. We want the arbitration to take place here. We believe that we have the personnel here, or can attract the personnel, therefore creating employment and other opportunities for Guyanese.”
Arbitration is an expensive process and money can be generated here to benefit Guyanese, he explained.
The Attorney General said the aim is to create an arbitration process, independent of the Judiciary, as well as court-related.
The Ministry is soliciting recommendations for a Bill currently in circulation with the Private Sector, the Bar Association, the Accountants Association and other interested stakeholders.
“We would like a national buy-in of the concept because who will use the arbitration process we are trying to implement? Not the Government. The largest users will be the commercial community, lawyers and judges,” he said.
Following successful consultations, the Ministry will be working on rules and regulations pursuant to the Act, that will address the procedures that will take place at arbitration. The Attorney General said arbitration is the preferred form of dispute resolution for the oil and gas industry and a modern legislation would instil confidence in international investors that Guyana is a competent arbitration venue.