“This win is definitely bigger than the three of us,” Reon Miller, a University of Guyana law student, explained when asked about his team’s recent success at the Caribbean Court of Justice’s (CCJ) annual international Law Moot. “This win demonstrates that products of the University of Guyana are a force to be reckoned with and should not be taken lightly.”

Miller was one of three students who represented the University of Guyana (UG) at the annual competition. He represented the team in the capacity of Senior Counsel while his colleagues, Ms. Cassandra Jaikaran and Ms. Shameza David, served in the roles of Junior Counsel and Researcher, respectively. The three-person team ultimately won the title of “Best Academic Institution” on behalf of UG. And while the competition required many sacrifices, Miller believes that it was more than worth it.

“Preparation for the competition entailed days and nights of intense research over a ten week period, much to the neglect of ourselves, our families, and our graded courses,” Miller explained. He added, “Coming down to the end, we pressured ourselves with as much as 10 to 14-hour long practice sessions to ensure our submissions and delivery were of optimal standard.”

He explained that when the opportunity first presented itself for him and his teammates to participate in the CCJ competition, they jumped at the chance. They were selected for their outstanding individual performances within their respective teams at an internal competition – the Aubrey Bishop Mooting Competition – held by UG’s Faculty of Law.

For Miller, Jaikaran, and David, this was their first experience in participating against other institutions within the region and, while they had no concerns going in, Miller admitted that there was a bit of intimidation his team experienced due to the other institutions.

The moot also featured presentations from the Norman Manley Law School from Jamaica and the law faculties of the Anton de Kom University of Suriname; the University of the Bahamas; the University of Technology of Jamaica; the University of the West Indies – Cave Hill; the University of the West Indies – Mona; and the University of the West Indies – St Augustine.

“We had grown to a place where we were confident in our submissions and proud of ourselves regardless of the results. But, of course, there was the intimidation from the other institutions and the CCJ judges as well that kept our hearts racing so at the same time it was definitely not a state of calm either!” He continued, “Nevertheless, we stuck it through, prayed together, worked together, and remained hopeful that our hard work would eventually be rewarded.”

And indeed it was. Miller explained that the CARICOM centred competition required each team to present on a hypothetical question about rights governed under the revised treaty of Chaguaramas. Miller explained that in the competition there are law schools that offer professional certifications, such as the Legal Education Certificate (LEC), as well as universities that offer academic degree programmes, such as the Bachelor of Laws Degree (LLB). “The University of Guyana is one such academic institution and, in competing with all the other

academic institutions in the Caribbean, we were adjudged the “Best Academic Institution”, coming second only to Hugh Wooding Law School, which is a Law School,” Miller said.

Furthermore, Miller described the entire experience as “surreal” and “truly magical”. He said too that it presented the opportunity for him and his teammates to bond and he emphasised that their success was truly an “inclusive, team effort and would not have been possible without the contribution of any one member.”

He added, “Overall, it was a surreal experience and one which we will cherish for the rest of our lives. It was filled with anxiety, excitement, and bravery. To be treated as an experienced lawyer in the region’s highest court on matters of and relating to international law enabled us all to grow individually and together as a team. It was truly magical.”

Meanwhile, Miller looks forward to competing again – but not in the same competition. Even if he wanted to, he explained that previous participants are barred from participating in the competition again. Nonetheless, he said he and his teammates will be “behind the curtains preparing next year’s team to continue [their] legacy.”

And next year’s team certainly has big shoes to fill; after all, this was the first in the 11 years of the competition that UG was awarded the “Best Academic Institution” Award. And while Miller believes that it is a legacy left by his team, he emphasised that the win is not just for them – it is also a win for Guyana.

“To be ambassadors for The University of Guyana and, by extension, our country was a phenomenal experience and one which will remain very close to us into the foreseeable future,” he said, before continuing, “This win demonstrates that products of the University of Guyana are a force to be reckoned with and should not be taken lightly. It reinforces the caliber of students that emerge from this University and it truly is a win for our country. Amidst the negative connotations associated regionally with the University of Guyana and by extension Guyana, we have something worth celebrating.”


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