To ensure that proper legal services are provided to the Government; to provide statutory services to the public relating to the public trust and bankruptcy matters; and to register titles, mortgages, companies, societies and other bodies as well as other documents, as required by the law.
International Hague network of judges crucial to effective practical communication- participants hear
Jul 14, 2016 Government, Ministry of Legal Affairs, News
Georgetown, GINA, July 14, 2016
The International Hague Network of Judges is crucial to effective practical communications as it allows it members to have direct communication with their counterpart the world over.
This was told to legal practitioners from the region who are gathered for the Hague Convention Conference on International Family Law, Legal Co-operation and Commerce at the Pegasus hotel, Georgetown.
The Right Honourable Sir Matthew Thorpe, former Lord Justice of Appeal and Head of International Family Justice 2005-2013 said that the Convention that speaks to the Network of Judges includes commonly accepted safeguards, and details guidance needed by each Network Judge for them to be effective in their roles.
The Right Honourable Sir Mathew Thorpe, Former Lord Justice of Appeal and Head of International Family Justice 2005-2013
“Any judge of the network has at least a clear guide as to what is good practice in the field of judicial communication,” Sir Thorpe explained.
He asserted that nominated judges to the network have an important responsibility, not to remain within their own domains, but rather they must meet to exchange ideas and get to know each other as colleagues.
“To that end, we have had a residential conference for the network judges in UK in 2013 and last year in Hong Kong… these are hugely valuable opportunities for judges to get together and exchange their experiences,” Sir Thorpe explained.
The wisdom behind having a network of judges is to foster practical communication between and amongst them. Therefore, when one judge is seized of a matter in their jurisdiction involving a cross-border issue, they can contact their counterpart in the other jurisdiction. This level of practical communications, Sir Thorpe touts, saves time, money, and removes the barriers to justice being served and results in the ordinary citizen getting justice.
Some of the participants gathered for the Hague Convention Conference on International Family Law, Legal Co-operation and Commerce.
“The most important aspect is the external communication so that the network judge has to be ready to receive requests for information and assistance from their counterparts anywhere in the world and provide wholehearted response- irrespective of a time or language problem,” Sir Thorpe said.
Sir Thorpe further added that the other important responsibility of network judges is to communicate with their colleagues within their respective jurisdictions, keeping them informed of the developments of case law and the developments of issues.
“You need to report, make newsletter available to specialists judges in the region … you have to make effort to attend conferences which are specialist and specifically designed to draw in the expertise and experience you are accumulating,” Sir Thorpe said.
Madame Justice Allyson Ramkerrysingh, Family Court of Trinidad and Tobago, Port of Spain and Hague Network Judge, recounting her experience utilising the network, said that is the kind of communication the network seeks to have.
The Honourable Madam Justice Allyson Ramkerrysingh, Family Court of Trinidad and Tobago, Port of Spain, Hague Network Judge
Madame Justice Ramkerrysingh also pointed out that based on Trinidad and Tobago’s experience; a number of initiatives will soon be put in place to give the Central Authority more scope to fully implement the Conventions that were assented to.
Some of the measures include a directory of legal practitioners who can assist both foreign and local left behind parent in initiating proceedings; a comprehensive list of probation officers, welfare officers and social service providers who can facilitate expeditious reports to courts, both locally and in other contracting territories; a list of dependable safe houses and residents that offer shelter and protection in cases of emergency to both foreign and local interested parties, and a list of ready information for police and other relevant law enforcement agencies who can provide swift assistance in troublesome matters.
Guyana nominates two judges for Hague Network of Judges-as inaugural Regional Hague Conference opens
Georgetown, GINA, July 13, 2016
Guyana’s Chief Justice (ag) and another senior judge were nominated by Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General, Basil Williams this evening to become Guyana’s representatives on the International Network of Hague Judges.
At the opening ceremony of the Hague Convention Conference at the Pegasus Hotel this evening, Minister Williams nominated Chief Justice (ag), Madame Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards and Madame Justice, Roxanne George as Hague Network Judges as part of Guyana’s commitment to joining the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH).
Chief Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards (right) and Madam Justice Roxanne Bernard (left) at the opening ceremony of Hague Convention Centre.
Williams said he has no doubt that the judges will bring a wealth of knowledge which will contribute positively to the operating and functioning of the Hague Conventions. Guyana is hosting the third regional conference until July 15.
“My hope is that Guyana becomes a member of HCCH and continue the work already started through the hosting of this conference,” Williams said in his opening remarks.
Once the nomination is accepted, Guyana will be the second country in the Caribbean region to be a part of the network. Trinidad and Tobago is the first Caribbean country to sign on to it.
Meanwhile, Secretary General of the HCCH, Christophe Bernasconi welcomed the two judges on their appointment and expressed the hope that other Caribbean countries will sign onto the Hague Network of Judges.
“I hope that this event will ignite in all delegates here present a strong interest and enthusiasm for the Hague conference and its conventions. I also hope that this enthusiasm will be carried back to the capital, and as a result, many Caribbean states will sign up to Hague conventions and actively consider Hague Conference membership. I sincerely hope that we can encourage those states…to designate one or two Hague Network Judges,” Bernasconi said.
Bernasconi also commended Minister Williams for the effort that Guyana and other sponsors have put in to make the conference possible. “You immediately understood the great potential our instruments can have for Guyana and the region more broadly,” Bernasconi said in praise.
Williams also came in for praise from Sir Matthew Thorpe, retired Lord Justice of Appeal, Court of Appeal of England and Wales. “Here we have the jurisdiction and that gives us the potential to achieve the breakthrough in the volume of the support for the Hague family conventions in this region,” Thorpe said.
The conference is the third and largest regional conference. There are approximately 22 delegates from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the wider Caribbean region attending. Those delegates are Ministers of Legal Affairs, Attorney Generals, Judges and other legal experts.
Attorney General Williams said that the content and quality of the various HCCH conventions are worthy of embracing. “The conventions simplify and expedite judicial proceedings to ensure reciprocity as it relates to the enforcement of judgement in foreign jurisdictions and promote legal certainty,” Williams said.
Government committed to providing caring, enabling environment for nation’s children -President Granger at opening of Hague Convention Conference
July 13, 2016
Georgetown, Guyana – (July 13, 2016) President David Granger, this evening, reaffirmed his Government’s commitment to the protection and provision of a good life for all Guyanese, especially for children, as he noted that this vulnerable group must be guarded, nurtured and taken care of so that they can enjoy successful lives.
The President was at the time speaking at the opening of the Hague Convention Conference on International Family Law, Legal Cooperation and Commerce, Promoting Human Rights and Cross Border trade in the Caribbean at the Pegasus Hotel, which is being hosted in Guyana through the Ministry of Legal Affairs, the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). President Granger said that Guyana’s hosting of the conference is a show of the commitment from the part of the Government to rectify those issues, which affect Guyanese; particularly it’s children, since the Conference is focused significantly on family law and human rights.
From left: Ms. Maria Cristina Perceval, UNICEF’s Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mr. Basil Williams, Mrs. Williams, President David Granger, First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, Secretary-General of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, Dr. Christophe Bernasconi, Mrs. Sita Nagamootoo and Prime Minister, Mr. Moses Nagamootoo.
“A ‘good life’ means more than economic growth. It is about the creation of a caring and protective society, especially for its most vulnerable members; its children. It’s about a quality of life, it’s about the creation of a caring and protective society, especially for it’s more vulnerable members; its children. A ‘good life’ is about the protection respecting the rights of children, protecting them from abuse and providing greater opportunities for them to have successful lives. A ‘good life’ can be guaranteed at four levels: at the family level, which has the primary duty to protect its children, the community level, which has a duty to cooperate for the protection of children [and] at the state level, which has a duty to provide legal protection and support for their citizens everywhere,” President David Granger said.
The President noted that the Declaration of Geneva of 1924, a landmark in international law, recognised that mankind owed to the child the best that it had to give. He said that it urged the men and women of all nations to accept that “beyond and above all considerations of race, nationality and creed”, the child must be given the means requisite for its normal development, both materially and spiritually. Therefore, he noted, the Conference must focus on the best outcomes, which can ensure that this vulnerable group, receives the best framework for their care, protection and growth.
“The child that is hungry must be fed. The child that is sick must be nursed. The child that is ‘backward’ must be helped. The delinquent child must be reclaimed and the orphan and the waif must be sheltered and succored. The child must be the first to receive relief in times of distress. The child must be put in a position to earn a livelihood, and must be protected against every form of exploitation. The child must be brought up in the consciousness that its talents must be devoted to the service of fellow men,” the Head of State quoted from the Declaration of Geneva of 1924.
President Granger said that while Guyana has been laying the foundation of the legal architecture for comprehensive child protection and family law with the passage of the Status of Children Act, the Child Protection Act, the Adoption of Children Act, the Sexual Offences Act and the Custody, Contact, Guardianship and Maintenance Act, there is still work to be done. He added that the deliberations at the Conference will assist in the improvement of local systems.
His Excellency, President David Granger, delivers the feature address at the Opening ceremony of the Hague Convention Conference on "International Family Law, Legal Cooperation and Commerce: Promoting Human Rights and Cross Border Trade in the Caribbean through the Hague Conference Conventions", which was held earlier this evening at the Pegasus Hotel.
His Excellency, President David Granger, delivers the feature address at the Opening ceremony of the Hague Convention Conference on “International Family Law, Legal Cooperation and Commerce: Promoting Human Rights and Cross Border Trade in the Caribbean through the Hague Conference Conventions”, which was held earlier this evening at the Pegasus Hotel.
United Nations Children Fund’s (UNICEF) Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Ms. Maria Cristina Perceval, in her remarks, said that the hosting of the Conference, signals the commitment from the region and Guyana to the well-being of children.
“For UNICEF this event represents the Caribbean’s commitment, promise and robust political will to work together to build a stronger and better international legal environment for children and adolescents as it relates to private international law and for the protection of children,” she said.
Speaking on the impact of abduction on children, the UNICEF representative said that it is Conferences like these, which ensure that the frameworks are adequately determined and put in place to reduce such occurrences and also dissuade others.
“Although, not every abduction is preventable; the steps can be taken to reduce its likelihood. These steps have to be made with a system with a strong legal basis rooted in international norms and principles aimed at realising children’s rights. [Private International Law] builds on the standards of [the Rights of the Child Convention and International Human Rights] by establishing concrete requirement for their respect through the procedures it puts in place in the fields that it covers. In doing so Private International Law not only reflects Human Rights Law but also compliments to standards it sets by giving a practical dimension to implementation,” she said.
Secretary General of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, Dr. Christophe Bernasconi, noted that the Conference represents success for the country and the organisation and thanked President Granger for his involved and strong stance in support of the hosting of the Conference.
Secretary-General of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, Dr. Christophe Bernasconi, addressing attendees at this evening’s opening ceremony.
“…Today the great efforts of many people materialised; efforts that made it possible for us all to gather here; efforts that I am sure will shape Guyana’s and the Caribbean’s engagement with the Hague Conference for many years, indeed decades to come…I wish to express our deep gratitude to you Mr. President for your tremendous support and personal engagement that was so vital to seeing this event come to fruition,” he said.
Speaking also on the role the organisation plays in child rights and protection, Dr. Bernasconi noted that children need a special layer of legal protection the international environment. However, he added that at a wider level, the Hague Conference creates a level legal playing field for regional, local and international businesses.
“My research suggests that Guyana enjoys burgeoning cross border trade and commercial activities as well as an increasing degree of foreign investment in key industries… To do business here in the region local, regional and international businesses require an environment that is conducive to commercial investment activities. In particular, they require legal certainty and predictability. Foreign investors need to know the ‘rules of the game’ before investing here or doing business here. They need to know which law will apply to their cross border transaction, which court will have jurisdiction to hear litigation arising out of the transaction, what they can do with a Guyanese judgement so as to have it enforced abroad, what are the means of cross border cooperation at their disposal,” he said.
Dr. Bernasconi also thanked Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mr. Basil Williams, who he said immediately recognised the benefits that the HCCH could bring to Guyana.
A section of the attendees at this evening’s opening
Minister Williams, in his brief remarks, expressed thanks to the President for agreeing to host the Conference, as he noted that the President immediately recognised the importance the event will have on the lives of Guyanese children.
“As soon as I reached the support from the Conference I went to President Granger with a concept note, and the President, without hesitation, agreed and we were able to proceed. The Conventions…will pave the way to secure the best interests of our children and preserving the most important institution, the family,” he said.
As Guyana prepares to seek membership in the organisation, Minister Williams announced that he has nominated acting chief Justice, Madame Yonette Cummings-Edwards and High Court Judge, Madame Roxanne George-Wiltshire as Guyana’s representatives on the Hague’s Judges Network, which oversees the enforcement of Conventions, which have been adopted.
Hague conference sets foundation for delivery of region’s community laws -CCJ President
Georgetown, GINA, July 13, 2016
The Hague Conference being hosted by Guyana, in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) sets the foundation for Caribbean member states to work towards establishing laws that can be applied in relation to family law matters.
The three-day regional conference being hosted at the Pegasus Hotel, will address the Hague Conventions on child adoption, abduction, maintenance and international family mediation.
For Guyana and the wider Caribbean region, information coming out of the Hague Conference will provide members states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) greater familiarity with these international standards of practice.
More importantly, the conference provides the basis for developing a framework within the region to address family law issues such as child adoption and abduction, as well as cross-border trade.
President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Sir Dennis Byron
President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Sir Dennis Byron, who is present for the conference, believes that the increased knowledge and understanding garnered from the conference will see more “community laws” being developed.
“We at the CCJ are very interested in the increased appreciation of family law in the region, both in terms of helping to support the work of the regional jurisdiction, and the development of the single market and economy, but also in terms of supporting general traditional development by making certain that the international standards which are evident in regional treaties are more applicable in the way regional courts operate,” Sir Byron told the Government Information Agency (GINA) in an interview just before the opening of the conference this evening.
The sensitisation of persons on the awareness that will be raised is important and assists the region “to make it become more real to the way how we do our business and so on,” Sir Byron said.
Noting that he was pleased to be in Guyana for this meeting, the CCJ President said, “I really expect that the convention itself will be inspiring to the judiciary and legal profession and general public here.”
Meanwhile, Byron expressed the hope that this conference will stimulate interest by participating countries to sign onto the Hague’s Conventions where they can benefit from an international network of judges. “Obviously being part of a judicial network has its benefits and it could very well be that as a result of the activities of this week, it will stimulate and encourage greater participation among regions,” Sir Byron noted.
Guyana is hosting the third Regional Hague Conference on Private International Law under the theme “International Family Law, Legal Cooperation and Commerce: Promoting Human Rights and Cross-Border Trade in the Caribbean Through the Hague Conference Conventions”.
Adjustments to Draft Cybercrime Bill completed
July 11, 2016
Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister, Basil Williams
–legislation likely to be sent to Special Select Committee when tabled
THE Draft Cybercrime legislation will soon be presented to Cabinet, now that consultations and adjustments on the bill have been completed.Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister, Basil Williams, will make a special appeal to Cabinet for the legislation to be sent to a Select Committee when it is presented in the National Assembly. Once cleared by Cabinet, the draft legislation would be laid in the House.
The draft bill initially presented to stakeholders in March has since undergone several changes. “As a result of that consultation, we had to make several adjustments to the draft bill,” Williams explained.
Once passed, the bill would safeguard Guyanese against cybercrime, including computer-related forgery, identity theft, child pornography, child luring, and offenses affecting critical infrastructure.
The Cybercrime Bill 2016 was crafted with the primary objective to combat cybercrimes by creating offenses and to provide for penalties, investigation and prosecution of the offences and related matters. The draft bill mandates that a person who, intentionally and without lawful excuse or justification, inputs, alters, deletes or suppresses computer data, resulting in (the production of) inauthentic data with the intent that it be considered or acted upon for legal purposes as if it were authentic, regardless of whether or not the data is directly readable and intelligible, commits an offence and is liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of $3M and to imprisonment for three years.
In addition, persons who disseminate information after being convicted will be fined $20,000, and will also be liable to a three-year prison term.
The bill also outlines the penalties for computer fraud, in the sense that anyone who commits an offence deemed to be computer fraud will be dealt heavier penalties, with a summary conviction carrying a $5M fine and a five-year prison term.
Cyberbullying, which is bullying through the use of technology, is also deemed an offence, according to the bill. It states that to cyberbully another person intentionally or recklessly is deemed to be committing an offence.
According to the bill, “a cyberbully” is someone who uses a computer system to repeatedly or continuously convey information which causes fear, intimidation, humiliation, distress, or other harm to another person. The actions of such persons become detrimental to another person’s health, their emotional well-being, self-esteem or their reputation.
Child pornography as an offence is also clearly defined by the bill: Anyone who intentionally produces child pornography for the purpose of its distribution through a computer system, or who offers or makes available child pornography through a computer system, is guilty of an offence. In addition, anyone who distributes, transmits, procures or obtains child pornography through a computer is also guilty of an offence.
If summarily convicted, such individuals are liable to be fined $5M and serve a five-year prison term.
In light of the pending legislation, the Guyana Police Force has, with a series of training, been preparing its ranks to effectively address this kind of crime. An Assistant Superintendent and a Sergeant attended a just concluded Interpol-sponsored cybercrime training session in the Dominican Republic.
The Ministry of Legal Affairs has also been exposing its staff to cybercrime training, and the Director of Public Prosecution and Justice of Appeal attended such seminars in Brazil.