Guyana signs agreement to establish new law school

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Jan 11, CMC – Guyana Wednesday signed an agreement with the University College of the Caribbean (UCC) and the Law College of the Americas (LCA) as it moved to establish its own law school and ease the difficulties being experienced by Guyanese students wishing to attend the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad and Tobago.
Attorney General Basil Williams said the establishment of the Law School will ensure that local law students no longer have to worry about gaining acceptance to continue their legal education at the Trinidad-based facility.
“We have hundreds of LLB holders and graduates who cannot enter into the Norman Manley (Jamaica) or Hugh Wooding Law Schools, not to even mention Eugene Dupuch in Bahamas because it’s so expensive. And therefore it is very important that this question be addressed and so we are happy”, Williams said.
He said the Law School here will be on the same level with the other regional law schools since they all fall under the Council of Legal Education (CLE).
Only the top 25 law students from the University of Guyana (UG) are allowed to complete their Certificate in Legal Education studies at the Hugh Wooding Law School, and Williams said the CLE has given Guyana permission to establish a local law school two decades ago.
The new school would be named The JOF Haynes Law School of the Americas (JHLSA) and Williams said that the partnership will result in the investors holding a 70   per cent interest in the Law School, with the government the remaining 30 per cent.
Dr Trevor Hamilton, of the University College of the Caribbean, said the new faculty will go beyond just preparing attorneys to be called to the bar.
He said as new economies emerge in the Caribbean, modern law practices and studies have emerged and the law school in Guyana will cater for that.
“You didn’t hear about cybercrime 30 or 40 years ago and you didn’t hear about environmental law about 30 and 40 years ago, you didn’t hear about sports law. I mean, people like Usain Bolt had to get a foreign lawyer to deal with his contracts.  You didn’t hear about the creative industry, 30 or 40 years ago, intellectual property and music and those things. We didn’t have those industry and those are helping to form the new economy…the lawyers that we want to produce will be lawyers who can create major changes and help to accelerate modernization.”
Education Minister Dr Rupert Roopnaraine said he is pleased that after many years of hearing about the school, it is now becoming a reality, while Professor Dennis Gayle, UCC’s executive chancellor and interim president, said the school will help to bridge significant gaps in demand for legal education in the Caribbean and the provisions which currently exist.
Chair of the LCA, Courtney Wynter, said the strength of the institution will be its capacity to end the situation which caused qualified professionals to not explore legal practice because of restrictions. He said the agreement challenges historical practices.
UG Deputy Vice Chancellor, Barbara Redford, said the new school can remove what has been a challenge to graduates of the university here in securing the legal education certificate.

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