News

Last update : 14 January, 2010

Farewell to Ms Thelma Rodney-Edwards
Ms. Rodney-Edwards retired from the board at the end of 2009 after serving for more than 12 years as the representative of the Guyana Council of Churches. Her valuable contributions will be missed.

Welcome to Ms Norma Lewis
Ms. Lewis joined the Clinic in January 2010 and is based in New Amsterdam

Posted 18 October, 2009
Farewell to Ms Yogini Lochan
Ms. Lochan left the Clinic in September to live overseas. During her 18 months with us, Ms. Lochan impressed all with her performance and commitment to the ethos and purpose of legal aid and will be sorely missed.

Welcome to Ms Simone Morris-Ramlall
Ms. Morris-Ramlall joined the Clinic in August. She is based at the Georgetown office.

Welcome to Frederick Singh
Mr. Singh joined the Clinic at the end of September. He is based at the Georgetown office but has special responsibility for the Region 5 office at Fort Wellington.

Posted 2 August, 2009
Farewell to Ms Omeyana Hamilton
After just over a year with us, Ms. Omeyana Hamilton left the Clinic in June to take up a position on the magistrates’ bench.

Rights of the Child Commission

Vice-chairperson Ms Yvonne Fox was on 8 May 2009 sworn in as a member of the newly established commission, having been selected through a nomination process involving a wide cross-section of civil society.

Further UNICEF support for Children’s Legal Aid Project

We are extremely pleased that UNICEF has agreed to continue to support the clinic’s children’s legal aid services for a further 12 months from June 2009.

While new juvenile justice legislation has not yet been passed or a national children’s help line established, it is anticipated that with the coming on stream of the project promotional campaign (posters and radio and TV PSAs), the demand for children’s legal aid services will increase substantially over the next year.

Posted 10 May, 2009
Government provides further support for expanded legal aid services
Further to the expansion of legal aid to Regions 2, 5 and 6 with support received from the government last year, the Clinic has received a further $32 million to enable the Clinic to continue to provide services at its offices in Georgetown, Anna Regina, Fort Wellington and New Amsterdam.

Welcome back to Ms. Bettina Glasford
The Clinic is delighted that Ms. Glasford has, since returning from internship in Barbados, resumed providing voluntary service to the Clinic.

Mr. Scott Doucet
Mr. Doucet’s internship ended in February but the Clinic is pleased not to have lost him entirely, as he is remaining in Guyana until September 2009 on contract with the Ministry of Human Services & Social Security and is continuing to assist us with some matters

Posted 21 Oct, 2008
Legal aid in Region 6
Legal aid in Region 6 (East Berbice/Corentyne) was officially launched at a well-attended ceremony on 10 October 2008. The feature address was given by Clinic founder member Mr. Miles G. Fitzpatrick, S.C.

Posted 27 Sept, 2008

The Clinic changes its name
At the annual general meeting on 11 September 2008, the Clinic changed its name to Guyana Legal Aid Clinic, in recognition of the expansion of legal aid services outside of Georgetown that has and will continue to take place as a result of the provision of government support.

Welcome to Mr Ian Anamayah
Attorney-at-Law Mr Ian Anamayah joined the Clinic in August as part of our government-funded expansion process. He is based in New Amsterdam.

Mr. Scott Doucet - Canadian Bar Association 2008-9 Intern
Since his arrival in Guyana in early August, Mr. Doucet has been an extremely welcome addition to the Clinic, particularly in the area of legal research, and has reinforced our views as to the value of the Canadian Bar Association’s Young Professionals Internship Program. We sincerely hope that the CBA will receive funding to continue the program next year and that the Clinic will again be fortunate enough to secure the placement of an intern.

Farewell to Ms. Bettina Glasford
Having provided a year’s exemplary voluntary service to the Clinic, Ms. Glasford has left – it is to be hoped only temporarily - to gain experience in another jurisdiction. The Clinic is deeply grateful to Ms. Glasford for the quality of her work and unwavering commitment to legal aid.

Posted 16 July, 2008

Legal Aid in Essequibo
A ceremony to mark the launching of legal aid in Essequibo took place on 14 June 2008. Addresses were given by Minister of Human Services & Social Security, Ms. Priya Manickchand and Mr. Ashton Chase, founder member and current chairperson of GLAC.

Legal Aid in Region 5
A ceremony to mark the launching of legal aid in Region 5 (West Coast Berbice) took place on 27 June 2008. Addresses were given by Minister of Human Services & Social Security, Ms. Priya Manickchand and Mr. Hari Narayen Ramkarran, Speaker of the National Assembly and founder member of GLAC.

Legal Aid in Linden provided by Linden Legal Aid Centre
Legal aid services are being provided in Linden by the Linden Legal Aid Centre, a non-profit company established by Ms. Joan Ward-Mars, Mr. Fitz Peters and others. The centre is located in the Christianburg Magistrates’ Court building, Christianburg, Linden, and the phone number is +592 442 1751. The office is open and staffed by a clerk/typist 8.00 to 16.00 hrs Monday to Thursday and 8.00 hrs to 15.00 hrs on Friday. Ms. Simone Morris-Ramlall provides legal advice and representation on a part time basis.

Welcome to new Directors
Ms. Hymawattie Lagan and Ms. Azeena Singh were appointed to the board in June as nominees of the government.

Ms. Lagan is the Administrator of the Women’s Affairs Bureau and Ms. Singh is an attorney-at-law and currently a legal researcher in the Office of the President Governance Unit.

Canadian Bar Association 2008-9 Intern
The Clinic looks forward to welcoming Mr. Scott Doucet in early August. Mr. Doucet, who will be with the Clinic for six months, has impressive academic and community service records and has most recently been working as a law clerk to a judge of the Federal Court of Canada.

Posted 20 May, 2008
Welcome to Ms Omeyana Hamilton Attorney-at-Law
Ms Omeyana Hamilton joined the Clinic on 1 May 2008. She will be largely based in Georgetown

Posted 20 April, 2008
Canadian Bar Association Intern

The Clinic is very pleased that Canadian government funding for the Canadian Bar Association’s International Youth Internship Progamme has been extended for another year and that the placement of a CBA young lawyer with the Clinic for 6 to 7 months (August 2008 to February 2009) has been approved.

We look forward to hosting our second young Canadian lawyer and hope that the internship will be as successful as that of our first intern, Sarah Dyck, who was with us from September 2006 to March 2007.

Posted 12 April, 2008
Farewell to Mr Nigel Hawke

Mr Nigel Hawke left the Clinic in April 2008 to take up an appointment to the magistracy. We are sorry to see him go and extend gratitude for all his contributions to our work since November 2006, congratulations on his elevation and best wishes for the future.

Welcome to Ms Yogini Lochan and Mr Sunil Scarce

Attorneys-at-Law Ms Yogini Lochan and Mr Sunil Scarce joined the Clinic on 1 April as part of our government-funded expansion process. Ms. Lochan will be based in Georgetown but do outreach work in Regions 5 and 10, and Mr. Scarce will be based in Anna Regina, Essequibo, in offices to be provided by the government through the Ministry of Human Services & Social Security.

Further assistance under the USAID/GDCCR Project

The Clinic has in the past benefited very substantially under the project and is grateful for the further assistance that is to be received to enable the acquisition of computer equipment and office furniture and equipment for our expansion.

Posted 9 January 2008
Government provides support to enable continuation and expansion of legal aid services

True to its commitment to improve access to justice for the poor and other disadvantaged and vulnerable persons throughout Guyana, the government has provided the Clinic with $32 million to enable the continuation and expansion of legal aid services during 2008.

The funds provided will be used to cover the Clinic’s current operating costs and to employ three additional full time attorneys-at-law and three additional full time legal clerk/typists. One of the attorneys-at-law and legal clerk/typists will be based at the Clinic and will provide legal aid services in Regions 5, 7 and 10. One attorney-at-law and legal clerk/typist will be based in New Amsterdam to serve Region 6 and one attorney-at-law and legal clerk/typist will be based in Anna Regina to serve Region 2. The government will provide such offices as are required outside of Georgetown.

It is anticipated that subject to the government being satisfied that the funds provided have been used effectively, it will continue to provide financial support to legal aid.

Juvenile Justice Reform
Posted 9 January 2008
The Ministry of Culture, Youth & Sports in partnership with UNICEF has embarked on a project to reform the juvenile justice system. A Juvenile Justice Bill has been drafted and the Clinic was requested to participate in consultations on the draft, which it did by submitting written comments/suggestions.

The Clinic welcomes the proposed reform and looks forward to further participation in the consultation process.

Pilot Project for Children’s Legal Aid has begun
Posted 11 Sept, 2007

The Children’s Legal Aid Pilot Project began on 3 September under an agreement between the Clinic and the Ministry of Culture Youth & Sport for the establishment of legal aid services to children under a 12 month pilot project funded by UNICEF.

Ms. Faith McGusty as Children’s Legal Aid Attorney-at-Law will provide legal aid services directly to children who need assistance with civil and/or criminal matters. Children will be referred to the Clinic by government ministries and agencies, and NGOs that provide non-legal assistance to children, such as Help & Shelter.

The project is due to be formally launched very soon and efforts will be made to publicise the service through flyers, posters and public service announcements.
The project has a dedicated phone line: 225 6896.

All services provided under the project will be absolutely free.

It is anticipated that a national children’s helpline will be established by the Ministry of Culture Youth & Sport in the fairly near future.

It is hoped that the project will be successful and that government funding for its continuation will be provided.

Thank you to Commodore Gary Best
Posted 11 Sept, 2007
The Clinic is very sorry to be losing the sterling pro bono support it has received over the past 15 months from Commander (now Commodore) Gary Best consequent upon his appointment as the successor to Brigadier Edward Collins as Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force.

The Clinic extends warm congratulations, thanks and best wishes for a successful tenure to Commodore Best.

Assignment of Attorney-at-Law by the Ministry of Human Services & Social Security
As a step towards the implementation of the ruling party’s manifesto promise to expand legal aid services (see the PPP/C Manifesto 2006 “A Brighter Future for All Guyanese” at: http://www.votepppc.com/manifesto/pppmanifesto.pdf), the Ministry of Human Services & Social Security has assigned an attorney-at-law to the Clinic on a full-time basis.

Mr. Yoganand Persaud, BEd, LLB, who was with the Clinic from February to May 2007 to do outreach work in Regions 5 and 10, has recently returned and is handling matters mainly in the Georgetown courts.

Justice Sector Reform Strategy
On June 22, 2006 the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) announced that it had approved a US$25 million loan for the modernisation of the justice administration system in Guyana under a programme that would be guided by the Government of Guyana’s Justice Sector Reform Strategy (JSRS).

The IADB Project Concept Document identifies “improving access to justice” as one of the three challenges. This document notes that “restricted access to legal advice and legal representation . . . …. is a serious concern because of the fundamental issues that the justice system deals with, including loss of life and liberty”.

The IADB Project Concept Document further notes that US$1.1 million is linked to the improvement of access to justice, which includes enhancing citizen awareness of rights and responsibilities, provision of services to court users, facilitating legal advice and representation and access to information, courts and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. This document specifically states that financed activities will include technical assistance for the expansion of legal aid services ……. targeted at disadvantaged groups and the development and implementation of a public legal awareness strategy, action plan and campaigns.

The Justice Sector Reform Strategy 2006–2010 identifies four outputs, one of which is “improved access to justice, especially for the poor and vulnerable.” The Strategy notes that:

“The point of the limited availability of much of Guyana’s population to legal advice and representation has been made. As a first step to address this issue, a plan will be developed in conjunction with stakeholders for a sustainable, national legal aid scheme in Guyana.”

See the IADB announcement at: http://www.iadb.org/news/articledetail.cfm?Language=EN&artid=3149

See the IADB Project Concept Document at: http://www.iadb.org/projects/Project.cfm?project=GY-L1009&Language=English

See the Guyana Justice Reform Strategy at: http://www.gina.gov.gy/justicreform/Guyana%20JSRS%20revised%20June%202006c.pdf