12th Parliament opens today

─ Ministers, Speaker and Deputy Speaker to be sworn-in

─Budget for Constitutional Agencies to be presented

The Twelfth (12th) Parliament is set to open this morning at 10:00 hrs at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC), Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown. This 12th sitting comes approximately 19 months since the passage of the no-confidence motion against the then APNU/ AFC Coalition Administration in December, 2018.

The Eleventh Parliament of Guyana was dissolved on December 30, 2019.

There will be no ceremonial opening of the Parliament by a Head of State. Instead, Members of Parliament (MPs) will be sworn in, along with a Speaker and Deputy Speaker.

There is also to be a budget presentation for constitutional agencies.

His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, issued the proclamation for the opening of the 12th Parliament for Tuesday, September 1st, last Thursday, approving the use of the Arthur Chung Conference Centre for the opening, and for further sittings of the National Assembly.

“This venue (ACCC) shall begin and remain as such until advice is received from the Minister of Health that the safety measures including social distancing, with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer necessary,” the Proclamation stated.

President Ali also noted that once advised, sittings will return to the Parliament Chamber, Public Buildings, Brickdam, Georgetown.

In the meantime, the Clerk of the National Assembly has asked that Members of Parliament who held dual citizenship to provide evidence that they have relinquished such, in conformity with Article 155 (1) (a) of the constitution of Guyana.

Article 155(1)(a) states; “No person shall be qualified for election as a member of the National Assembly who is, by virtue of his own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power or state.” This article was inserted in the Constitution of Guyana during the Constitutional Reform process of 1999-2000.

This matter was raised after several members in the 11th Parliament were revealed to have dual citizenship, including Former MP Charandass Persaud.

Subsequent to the matter being challenged in court, Chief Justice (ag), Roxane George, ruled that “dual citizenships as defined in the parameters in Article 155 (1) A, cannot be lawfully nominated or elected as an MP.

With regards to Health and Safety, in keeping with COVID-19 guidelines, the ACCC was specifically chosen to facilitate 72 persons including the 65 Parliamentarians.

According to Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs, the National Assembly has worked closely with the Ministry of Health and the Guyana Defence Force in preparation for the new sitting, where Parliamentarians will be seated apart (six feet).

“We are observing everything they tell us to do; social distancing and everything,” Isaacs said in an earlier interview.

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