The Deeds and Commercial Registry Board can only be constituted after the authority’s Amendment Bill 2017 is passed in the National Assembly, according to Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams SC. The board’s life came to an end in May 2016.
The Deeds and Commercial Registry is an independent body, which was established in 2013, to promote the efficient and orderly operation of the Deeds Registry and the Commercial Registry. It also established a Governing Board, which ensures the proper and efficient performance of the functions of the Authority.
During a recent press conference, Minister Williams explained that the government recognised that the board needed to be broadened to include other entities including the Ministry of Business and the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA).
The Board usually consists of a Chairman, the Registrar of Deeds and the Commercial Registry, a nominee of the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Communities, the Guyana Bar Association, the Guyana Association of Legal Professionals and the Private Sector.
“The matter is in parliament, it had to be taken to Cabinet and then to Parliament. It was first read on January 30 this year. … It hasn’t come up for debate yet because there were some Bills before like the Hamilton Greene Bill which took some time,” the Attorney General explained.
The AG noted that though he is aware that the Bill is up for debate in parliament, PPP/C Member of Parliament (MP), Anil Nandlall, went to the High Court ex-parte, and secured an Order Nisi of Mandamus for the members of the Governing Board to be appointed. The matter was heard before Justice Brassington Reynolds.
“Nandlall is aware that the Bill is up for debate and therefore he knows that the board cannot be constituted if the Bill is not debated by second reading and passed, yet he goes to the courts ex-parte …For 23 years no judge had given any order of any Minister of the PPP/C government but, since we came into office the judges have been giving orders to ministers without giving the ministers a hearing,” Williams said.
When someone goes ex-parte to the court, the matter is not served to the other side so they could be heard before the order is made.
The AG explained that the person requesting the order is placed under a duty of making full and frank disclosure. Failure to do so, the court is entitled to discharge the orders made and refuse to hear the case. However, in this case, Nandlall concealed from Justice Reynolds the fact that the matter is engaging the attention of Parliament.
The Attorney General said that the courts cannot interfere with the business of Parliament or tell the executive how to execute a matter within its domain because of the doctrine of the separation of powers.
Minister Williams SC recalled that the former Chancellor of the Judiciary, Carl Singh, had appointed the top two persons at the Deeds and Commercial entity. “He purpose to do that, through an amendment made to the constitution that was an erroneous amendment, it’s an amendment which goes against the grain of the Constitution and breaches the basis of the Constitution, which is separation of powers, that no arm of the state, the Legislature, Executive or the Judiciary, should infringe on the jurisdiction of the other,” Williams said.
Minister Williams said that it is clear interference by the Judiciary, and that such acts will be rolled back as the government will restore the rule of law in Guyana.