In spite of the disruptions brought on by the five month-long 2020 General and Regional Elections and the COVID-19 pandemic, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was pleased to inform the media that it is still forging ahead with its plans to strengthen its legal framework.
The regulatory body noted that its Legal Department formally commenced an internal review of the Environmental Protection Act, Cap. 20:05 in May of 2020 in an effort to address projections of increased development in the oil sector.
The authority said that the review is also being done to ensure that the applicable laws of Guyana are coherent and flexible while incorporating international standards and best practices. The EPA noted that consultation sessions were held with senior staff members to solicit feedback on provisions of the Act which need to be amended or omitted. Guyana Standard understands that some of the thematic areas which were highlighted were improved and clear processes, increased enforcement powers, and increases in fines.
The EPA said that the next stage is for research to be conducted to address and justify the proposed amendments, inclusions and exclusions, drawing from best-practice and the experiences of States with similar legal, cultural, political, social and economic circumstances.
In July 2020, through the Improved Access to Justice in the Caribbean (IMPACT Justice Project), the Agency secured an external consultant to provide technical and advisory support in the legislative review process. A key component of this process is a literature review to provide models and good practice guidance on national environmental law making, implementation and enforcement. Guyana Standard understands that an external stakeholder engagement will be part of this process before the end of 2020.