$1.27B approved for Parliament Office
DPI, Guyana, Monday, November 19, 2018
$1,270,271,000 was approved for the Parliament Office’s operations, some 13 per cent more than that approved by the House for 2018. The lump sum is 92 per cent of what was requested, Finance Minister Winston Jordan explained.
The Finance Minister explained that the GDP is projected to be positive for 2019, in response to a question posed by the Opposition. The money will be allocated within one month as specified by law, the minister further clarified. Despite several questions from the Opposition, the minister remained steadfast in responding that the sums allocated will be spent by the Parliament as it sees fit.
The Opposition then moved to introduce a motion to grant the full sum, initially requested by the parliamentary office, some $1.845Billion. This saw the Speaker deferring to the Parliament’s Clerk, Sherlock Isaacs to deal with what he termed, as “the amendments to the amendments to the amendments”. He then informed that the House of a motion to approve the initial sum requested versus the sum allocated by the Finance Minister, which was put to the House by the Opposition’s Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira. The Speaker subsequently put the motion to a vote which saw Minister Greenidge rising in support of the Finance Minister. He explained that only a minister can do so, in keeping with the Parliament’s Standing Orders. He was supported by Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo who noted that it was “an invitation to lawlessness”. The leader of the government business explained that the amendment to Act Number 4 of 2015 states that the Finance Minister shall submit to the Assembly, the minister’s comments on the allocations/recommendations limited to the overall requests made. He added that extensive repeated explanations were given hence, the motion should be accepted since it amounted to filibustering.
“It cannot be an admissible motion since it has to come by way of a motion tabled one day previously and from the Minister of Finance.”
Prime Minister Nagamootoo also recalled a precedent set and reminded that the same should obtain. He further argued that the recommendation as put forward by the Finance Minister be followed.
Following much deliberation, the Speaker decided to put the recommended sum to a vote, which resulted in the government prevailing, and approval given, for the $1.271Billion.
Paul Mc Adam.
Images: Keno George.