Extensive consultations held on SARA Bill before taken to Cabinet- Minister Harmon

GINA, GUYANA, Friday, February 17, 2017

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon said that there were extensive consultations on the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) Bill before it was taken to Cabinet for approval.

Minister Harmon during a post-Cabinet briefing today, at the Ministry of the Presidency, explained that those consultations were held recently by Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams, before the Bill was taken to Cabinet.

The Minister explained that concerns that were raised about the Bill were also taken into consideration.

Late last year, and early this year, the Private Sector Commission (PSC) said the SARA Bill proposed by the government is not only deeply flawed and must be reviewed, but it provides too much unchecked power to the agency. PSC subsequently, recommended that the SARA Bill be sent to a Select Committee. Minister Harmon indicated that those recommendations were taken into consideration.

He added that, “When a matter goes to the Select Committee, it is really giving the public and several organisations another opportunity to comment on it, and we have given them that opportunity.”

The Minister of State added that the Bill will be further debated in the National Assembly on March 9, 2017 and “at the end of that, if there are issues that have arisen that propel us to go in a certain direction, whether it goes to Select Committee or we pass it as it is, then that is a decision that will be made then,” Minister Harmon said.

The Minister urged that when one has an opportunity to comment on things they should do so immediately, and also ensure that other persons involved have an opportunity to do so as well, “Because you cannot keep legislation moribund just waiting, we have to move this country forward and deal with issues, with persons who have stolen state assets, and we have to have the legal coverage to go after those persons.”

The Bill was drafted with inputs from representatives of the World Bank and the United Nations, and British expert Brian Horne.


By: Ranetta Lafleur


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