Parliament passes the Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) (Amendment) Bill 2021

The National Assembly has removed Section 153(1) of the Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act, which stated that it was an offence for any person to appear in the attire of the opposite gender, in a public way or public place, for any improper purpose.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, SC, MP

This is in keeping with a judgement handed down by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in 2018, in the case of Quincy McEwan and others versus the Attorney General of Guyana [2018] CCJ 30 (AJ).

During the 31st Sitting of the 12th Parliament Tuesday, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mohabir Anil Nandall, SC, MP, read the Bill for a second time and again engaged the Assembly’s attention on the importance of the amendment.

The Minister said apart from giving effect to the CCJ’s 2018 ruling, Guyana, as an indivisible, secular democratic sovereign State must fulfil the human rights of all Guyanese.

“Mr. Speaker, it is the duty of this House having been directed by the declaratory orders made by the peak of our judicial hierarchical structure, it is the duty of this House now to remove that repulsive provision from the laws.

“That is an obligation that we have, it is a duty that devolves upon this House having regard to the pronouncements made by our highest court.”

Minister Nandlall said the Government was not doing anything extraordinary, but simply discharging its responsibility.

“We are doing nothing controversial; we are doing, obviously, nothing wrong. In fact, we are complying with our constitutional role as the legislature, the maker of our laws.

“We have a duty not only to enact new laws or to amend existing laws, but to remove from our legislative architecture those provisions that may have been pronounced repugnant, repulsive to our constitution and we are simply delivering, discharging that responsibility.”

The Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) (Amendment) Bill 2021, was introduced by the Attorney General and read by the Parliament for the first time on June 10, 2021.

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