Remaining members of Law, Constitutional Reform Commission sworn in

The remaining members of the Law Reform Commission and Constitutional Reform Commission (CRC) were on Tuesday sworn in with a mandate of taking a ‘forward-thinking’ approach to their work.

President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali delivered the charge during the simple but significant ceremony at the Office of the President on Shiv Chanderpaul Drive.  

President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali addressing the members of CRC and other special guests Tuesday at the Office of the President

The newly sworn-in members of the Law Reform Commission are Everton Singh-Lammy and Dr. Marie Correia, while Timothy Jonas, Kamal Ramkarran, and Keoma Griffith are the final three commissioners to complete the 21-member CRC.

While acknowledging the lasting power of law and constitution as guidelines for governance, the head of state emphasised the need for them to adapt to a changing society.

He urged the new commissioners to embrace this challenge by evaluating transformative societal changes that promote Guyana’s competitiveness while allowing citizens greater levels of freedom.

Recognising the complexity of constitutional reform, he stressed the importance of forward-thinking commissioners who can assess these changes within the context of Guyana’s evolving socioeconomic landscape.

“Members of these commissions…must be very open, must be able to understand the environment in which the country is operating in, the development trajectory of the country, the advancement of the judicial system, the changes [in] policymaking,” President Ali emphasised.

The president further explained, “I think that given the nature of both commissions, the Law Reform Commission and the Constitutional Reform Commission, it is not only about laws and the legal framework in which things are drafted. The work in both commissions is a representation of the dynamics in our society.”

President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali flanked by Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, SC and newly sworn-in members of the Constitutional Reform Commission

The president also commended the diverse makeup of both entities, and expressed confidence that these groups will offer fresh and innovative perspectives to address age-old issues.

“We expect that these young faces will bring the energy and bring that view that is sometimes missing… I think with the type of representation that we see, it also shows that our country is bringing the next generation of important human assets into the frame of decision-making at a very high level,” he added.

The CRC is chaired by Justice Carl Singh. The government’s representatives are Attorney General, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, SC, Ministers Gail Teixeira, Dr Frank Anthony, Pauline Sukhai, and Kwame McCoy.

Other commissioners include Vincent Alexander, Sherwood Lowe, Nigel Hughes, Ganesh Mahipaul, and Timothy Jonas (representatives of the APNU/AFC and joinder parties); Attorney Kamal Ramkarran from the Guyana Bar Association; Aslim Singh from the Labour Movement; Derrick John from the National Toshao Council; Ramesh Persaud from the Private Sector; Attorney Kim Kyte-Thomas from the women organisations; Dr Josh Kanhai from the youth organisations; Attorney Keoma Griffith from the Christian organisations; Imran Ally from the Muslim organisations; Radha Krishna Sharma from the Hindu organisations; and Attorney Adrian Anamayah as the farmers’ representative.

As outlined in the recently assented Constitutional Reform legislation, the CRC is mandated to review the constitution and provide for the current and future rights, duties, liabilities, and obligations of the Guyanese people.

Meanwhile, the Law Reform Commission is responsible for ensuring that the country’s laws are updated in keeping with global legislative trends.

Earlier this year, the new Chair of the Law Reform Commission, Emily Dodson took her oath of office, while former Member of Parliament, Lenox Shuman was also sworn in.

The other Commissioners are Deenawati Panday and Clarissa Riehl, and Teni Housty. They were sworn in on August 11, 2021.