The amended Deeds Registry Bill 2021, was passed in the National Assembly on Monday. Enshrined within is that anyone who fails to register, file or record a power of attorney without the attached copies of the photographic identification document and witness statement, in the case of a power of attorney executed outside of Guyana commits an offence.
This Bill’s passage is consequential to the Powers of Attorney Bill which was passed earlier in the House. Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, S.C., M.P., noted that the Bill will make it difficult for persons who are bent on committing fraud.
“Clause 22 provides a person who registers, files or records a document purporting to be a power of attorney, in contravention of Section One, commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $5 million and imprisonment for five years. As I said, this is simply to facilitate and to accommodate the changes that we have made to the law in relation to powers of attorney,” Minister Nandlall said.
Government Member of Parliament, Attorney-at-Law Sanjeev Datadin, in support of the amendment, explained that the updated documents now required to legally obtain a power of attorney, are what is required to be filed at the Deeds Registry as records.
He noted that it would be “useless” if government didn’t amend the Act to accommodate the amended Powers of Attorney Bill. Documents that must be presented to the Deeds Registry are photographs of the donor of the power and recipient, statements of the witnesses, and the seal of the notary public or Magistrate.
He added, “It would be useless, it would be downright foolish if I say so, Mr. Speaker, that you will go to all that trouble, that the donor of the power has to identify itself, the donee, the recipient of the power has to provide identification, the notary is obliged to examine it, the witnesses are required to give statements, but you don’t take all of that information and file it in the Deeds Registry, so there is a permanent record. It would all mean that everything you are doing to preserve the sanctity of the document, to make and save, you would have defeated the most important step, which is where the permanent record is created.”