Constitutional Reform Commission to be appointed next month – AG Nandlall

As part of the government’s commitment to enhancing Guyana’s premier laws, President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali will be appointing the 20-member Constitutional Reform Commission in September.

The Constitutional Reform Act was approved in 2022 and provides for the establishment of the commission, which is expected to lead nationwide engagements on the much-needed process.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall SC

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, SC, made the revelation during this week’s edition of ‘Issues in the News’ aired Tuesday evening.

The 20-member commission will be drawn from political parties (five from the ruling party and four from the main opposition and one from the ANUG), while 10 will be drawn from religious groupings, the private sector, the Guyana Bar Association, the National Toshaos Council, the labour movement, women’s organisations as well as nominees representing farmers and youths.

“It’s not going to be a politically dominated commission. It’s going to be half politicians and half civil society. The work of the commission will be driven by public consultation,” the legal affairs minister emphasised.

Minister Nandlall said once the commission is in place, a comprehensive consultation process will begin with citizens.

“Those appointments will be made before the end of September. So, constitutional reform – that important national exercise will soon commence,” he added.

The commission, according to the act, will review the constitution to provide for the current and future rights, duties, liabilities, and obligations of the Guyanese people. It is mandated for that purpose to receive, consider, and evaluate submissions for the alteration of the constitution, and report its recommendations to the standing committee for transmission to the National Assembly. 

In conducting the review, the commission will consider the full protection of the fundamental rights of and freedom of Guyanese under the law, the rights of Indigenous people of Guyana, the rights of children, eliminating discrimination in all forms, and improving ethnic relations, while promoting ethnic security and equal opportunity.

The commission will also, among other things, implement reforms relating to elections and the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), taking into consideration its composition, method of electing its chairman and members, and its jurisdiction over national registration and electoral processes.

Some $150 million was green-lighted in the administration’s fiscal plan towards advancing constitutional reform efforts in 2023.

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