Foreign Direct Investment …points to complaints about judicial delaysA recent report from the United States Economic Affairs Bureau has painted an unflattering picture of Guyana’s legal system and the way it doles out justice in contractual and civil matters. Among other things, the report cites complaints of sloth in the Judiciary As a factor in its analysis.Guyana was among other countries that had their investment climates assessed by the US Department of State for 2018. The report makes it clear that the problem is not legislation; it’s the enforcement of said legislation.“Sufficient legislation exists in Guyana to support foreign investment in the country, but implementation of relevant legislation continues to be inadequate. The objectives of the Investment Act of 2004 are to stimulate socio-economic development by attracting and facilitating foreign investment,” it states.The Department noted that other relevant laws include the Income Tax Act, the Customs Act, the Procurement Act of 2003, the Companies Act of 1991, the Securities Act of 1998, and the Small Business Act.It was pointed out however, that the regulators are still required to act in order for much of these legislative measures to be implemented. And even though the State Department acknowledged that there is no known case of executive interference, it noted that the court systems are still perceived as lacking.“The judicial system is generally perceived to be slow and ineffective in enforcing legal contracts. The 2018 World Bank’s Doing Business Report states that it takes 581 days to enforce a contract in Guyana. Suspected corrupt practices and long delays make the courts an unattractive option for settling investment or contractual disputes, particularly for foreign investors unfamiliar with Guyana.”“In order to redress this obstacle to investment, the Government of Guyana, with support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), established a Commercial Court in June 2006. Given Guyana’s growth potential, there is need for expansion and strengthened capacity in the near future.”In summing up, the State Department noted that implementing the legal framework remains inadequate as the judicial system is slow and ineffective in enforcing legal contracts.The Department also noted that there have been no recent cases of expropriation. It went on to advise that all companies should conduct due diligence and seek appropriate legal counsel to have any concerns resolved prior to doing business in Guyana.Persons have long complained about the sloth of the Judiciary. A recent case was Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, who had noted back in June that more than three years after his party filed an election petition in the High Court, the matter continued to languish in the courts.