Speaker disallows opposition motion to suspend sitting

DPI, Guyana, Friday, December 15, 2017

Speaker of the National Assembly Dr. Barton Scotland today disallowed a motion by the parliamentary opposition which sought leave to move the adjournment of the business of the Committee of Supply to allow for an amendment to the National Budget.

The motion, which stands in the name of Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) Irfaan Ali, requested that the day’s proceeding be put on hold so that the $18 million signing bonus government received from oil and gas exploration company Exxon Mobil could form part of the National Budget.

The motion, read by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo on behalf of Ali, was later disallowed as according to the Speaker, it did not reflect a matter of “urgency” as stipulated in the Standing Order.

Dr. Scotland said while the motion was received in the required timeframe, the proposal to adjourn the House on a definite matter of public importance is an extraordinary procedure. According to him, the Standing Order by which he is guided, sets out three indispensable elements that should be considered in such circumstance. First, the matter should be definite, it must also be urgent and of public importance.

He noted that the Members of Parliament are seeking some one week later, to move the house on the very matter, which was brought to the House’s attention. The Speaker recalled that the proceeding being followed in relation to the signing bonus was outlined by Minister of Finance Winston Jordan to the House and as well, statements were also made by Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman.

He said the members who are seeking the suspension of the business of the House through the adjournment motion appeared to have approached the House almost “leisurely”, seven days after being made aware of the matter, even while the consideration of the estimates continued.

“The honourable members only approached the house on the final day of the examination of the estimates. Therefore, the urgency envisaged in the Standing Order is not represented by the application and consequently this disallows the application,” Dr. Scotland said.

By: Alexis Rodney

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