Govt’s $7.6BILLION supplementary approved by National Assembly

– Constitutional agencies– Supreme Court and ERC get $195MILLION for additional employment costs

– PM Nagamootoo said opposition attempted “dilatory tactics” to frustrate process of approving funds for Constitutional agencies

– the next sitting of the National Assembly is set for Friday, Nov. 16

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, November 1, 2018

Outside of sums for two constitutional agencies, the National Assembly today approved $7,584,274,488 by way of a supplementary vote.

The House was embroiled in a prolonged controversy over procedure guiding approval of the additional sums requested by the Judiciary and the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) and was still in session at 02:00hrs.

The Supplementary, which covers the period January 1 to December 31, 2018, was approved by the National Assembly by unanimous vote today.

Of this amount $4,099,347,146 falls under Current Estimates and $3,484,927,342 under Capital Estimates.

In addition, a total amount of $194, 851,365 was approved for Constitutional Agencies.

Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo criticised the Opposition for “dilatory tactics” to frustrate the approval of more money for the entities.

The Prime Minister, who is Leader of Government Business in the House, said the Opposition was hypocritical as it was publicly attacking judges and the courts but pretending in Parliament to defend the judiciary. He was supported by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge.

Further, Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan clarified that supplementary budgets have different rules and when it comes to constitutional agencies the procedures assure the independence of these agencies.

On Wednesday, prior to the 98th Sitting of the National Assembly, Minister Jordan hosted a press conference explained that following preparation, copies of the budgets of Constitutional agencies are sent to the Speaker of National Assembly for him to make any recommendations as he sees fit.

Once the appropriation is approved, the money requested are dispatched within 28 days, and handed over in a lump sum, to spend as the agencies’ see fit.

The Supreme Court of Judicature will get $165, 600, 000 and the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) $29,251,365 to meet additional employment costs and other charges for the period October to December 2018.

Speaker of the House, Dr. Barton Scotland said moving forward, a Sub-Committee meeting will be hosted before the next sitting of the National Assembly with the intent of meeting an agreement of how to deal with Constitutional agencies and the budget.

The next sitting of the National Assembly has been set to Friday, November 16.

Stacy Carmichael.

Image by Keno George.