UG clears 10-acre plot for law school

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The proposed design for the front of the law school building

… Construction cost pegged at US$6M

THE University of Guyana Council has approved 10 acres of land to be used by the government to construct the Joseph Haynes Law School and Attorney General Basil Williams said that plans are well advanced to establish the facility.

Attorney General Basil Williams

Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, UG Vice Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Griffith, said that the matter regarding the allocation of land for the JOF law school was dealt with at their recent council meeting and the decision was made to allocate 10 acres of land to move forward with the construction of the law school.

Asked about the financial arrangements for the use of the land, Professor Griffith said: “One of the realities of the university is by virtue, the gift that precludes us from renting or selling land. There will be no rent charged. Our expectations are that services would be funded by the host and services for maintenance would also be honoured by the host.”
He added that the dynamics is between the AG and the governing body “so we cannot speak about the timeline for construction but the AG is anxious to get moving, but they have to wait on the organisers at that end as to when construction will begin”.

Williams told the Guyana Chronicle that key stakeholders of the projects have already acquired a building plan and designs for the facility which is proposed to be 50,000 sq. ft with three floors. He said construction of the facility is estimated at US$6M. Williams had recently reassured that the school will be opened here.

The APNU+AFC coalition government in January last year announced the project. The project comes after some two decades of lobbying for an alternative to the Norman Manley Law School in Jamaica, the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad and Tobago and the Eugene Dupuch Law School in The Bahamas.

The JOF Haynes Law School is being established through a Public-Private Partnership between the Government of Guyana, the Law School of the Americas (LCA) and the University College of the Commonwealth (UCC) and will add to the existing options available to holders of a Bachelor of Laws (LLB), and who intend to pursue their Legal Education Certificate (LEC).

A timeline of 2018 was set for establishment of the local institution and according to the attorney general, whether or not the time line is met, a local law school will be established. “It is a complex issue … we have to have a law school and whether people are putting up obstacles and so, the obstacles will have to be broken down,” Williams told reporters recently.

He explained that Guyanese students are faced with hefty sums they have to pay along with the small quota of students accepted into the Hugh Wooding Law School. These matters are of concern to his administration. Guyanese students have struggled with the system that allows them entry to the Hugh Wooding Law School and only late last year Williams was able to secure a collaborative agreement between the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the Council for Legal Education (CLE) and UG, paving the way for the top 25 Guyanese law students to have automatic entry into the Hugh Wooding Law School.
Back in December last year Williams had said that he had written the Vice Chancellor of UG, Professor Ivelaw Griffith, for him to identify the land that Chancellor Desiree Bernard had in early 2001, 2002 identified. He said the decision was made then that the building on the University of Guyana (UG) Campus.”

At an earlier meeting Williams, along with the task force looking into the establishment of the Joseph Haynes Law School of the Americas, had met to examine the provisions in the Revised Business Plan of the University College of the Caribbean (UCC), one of the Jamaican Partners in the Public/Private Partnership intended to establish the law school.

The business plan was submitted pursuant to a MoU entered into between the University College of the Caribbean (UCC), Law College of the Americas (LCA) and the Government of Guyana (GoG), which contained a provision for a feasibility study to be done to determine the viability of establishing the law school.