$150 million approved for constitutional reform plans
Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall (DPI photo)
Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall (DPI photo)

THE sum of $150 million, which was included in the 2023 National Budget, was approved by lawmakers on Monday, and now the government’s constitutional reform efforts will be able to advance in 2023.

As part of those efforts, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall highlighted that Guyana’s the Constitutional Reform Commission will be established soon.

While the National Assembly was resolved into the Committee of Supply on Monday, Minister Nandlall was asked to give a breakdown of an item under the Attorney-General’s chambers.

It was then that Nandlall stated that catered for under this item was a $150 million allocation that was set aside for constitutional reform activities slated to be carried out in 2023. This, he said, comes after the passing of the Constitutional Reform Act in 2022.

The Act at reference provides for the establishment of the Commission, which is expected to lead nationwide engagements on constitutional reform.

“That (the establishment of the Commission) will be done shortly. A building has already been secured and furnished, and a secretariat will have to be appointed,” Minister Nandlall said.

This secretariat, he said, will work along with the Commission. And according to the Attorney-General, as soon as President Dr. Irfaan Ali appoints the Commission, it will begin its work.

When asked, he said that the building identified for this commission is currently being used to house the Commission of Inquiry into the 2020 General and Regional Elections, but that upon the conclusion of the inquiry, the rental will continue.

The Constitution Reform Commission Bill 2022 was passed in the National Assembly in November of last year, and cleared the way for the establishment of a 20-member Constitution Reform Commission.

This Commission is expected to be made up of five members from the government, five members from the opposition, and 10 persons from civil society and professional organisations across the country.

Constitutional reform is a long-awaited and long-promised issue in Guyana, as several sectors of society have been calling for changes. Both the government and the opposition have agreed that constitutional reform is needed.

This process will commence this year as the government intends to fulfil its commitment to the continuous review and enhancement of the country’s Constitution.

Meanwhile, Minister Nandlall stated that some $30 million has been set aside for the establishment of a regional law school here. Additionally, there are sums set aside for a stipend for the Law Reform Commissioners ($20 million) and consultations on the new Arbitration Bill ($6 million).

Sums of money were set aside to complete the revised Laws of Guyana from 2012 to 2022, along with the law reports from 2007 to 2020 and public outreach and sensitisation, legal fees and more.


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