… Like a virtual seminar conducted with the best Guyanese legal minds

With the Guyana Government making serious efforts to make the country a focal point for arbitration, Attorney General and Senior Counsel Anil Nandlall claims that the Government will take steps to make this happen.

Attorney General Anil Nandlall, SC

The Government has only recently hired Courtney Abel’s Retired Justice services to review Guyana’s arbitration legislation. Its services include consulting on the preparatory stages of the initiative, in the context of Guyana’s growing oil and gas sector.
And Monday, a virtual seminar was held by the Ministry of Legal Affairs, featuring the country’s top legal minds and the Guyana Bar Association. During the seminar, Nandlall acknowledged that the free market largely determines where and by whom arbitration is made.
However, he noted that there are steps the Government is taking to make Guyana a focal point for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). He explained that the ultimate intention is to make Guyana self-sufficient.

Retired Justice Courtney Abel

“The intention first is to build a foundation. And then we also have that in relation to our nucleus of arbitrators now, we have to invest in training more arbitrators so that we can become more self-sufficient. Free market arbitration. If clients want an arbitrator from South Africa or India, they are free to bring them. ”
“The goal is to keep it in Guyana. Of course, you have the risk that they will take it elsewhere. But we will try, using other methods and mechanisms, to prevent that as far as possible from happening, so that Guyana remains the focus. The ultimate intention is to create Guyana as a hub of self-sustaining arbitration in this hemisphere. ”
During a recent panel discussion hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Guyana that dealt with the rule of law and foreign investment, Nandlall revealed that its Chamber is currently the Arbitration Act.
“We are currently exploring the arbitration architecture to make it modern and world-class model legislation has been published and we are in the process of adapting it to meet Guyana’s expectations and also to link it with the Judiciary while at the same time having arbitration as a process available to the parties outside the legal system if it does not wish to enter the formal legal system, ”he said.
“So you have a hybrid arbitration system – one that is integrated and part of the judicial process and one that is completely independent of the judicial process. The contracts now, they say if there is a dispute between the parties including the Government of Guyana, they have to go to Brussels or London or New York or Texas to resolve these disputes. We can resolve them right here by arbitration once we have put in place the necessary mechanisms and the statutory framework that is modern and responsive like those in the destinations chosen by these contracts, ”the AG explained .
Nandlall also said that mediation is one of the alternative approaches to the Judiciary and that his office is also working on a new dispensation to deal with mediation. Now, in all contracts – especially those with the oil and gas companies – there are arbitration clauses and the AG is concerned that once the clause is included, it means that the matter to go to arbitration and then adjourn the dispute through the process.
He had reminded that Guyana’s arbitration structure over 5 decades old, is ancient and cannot meet the demands of new and dynamic industries.

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