Supplementary funds for the operationalisation of SARA passed despite opposition filibustering
DPI, GUYANA, Thursday, August 3, 2017
Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, moved the motion for Financial Paper No. 2 for consideration of $2.514B for current and capital estimates for the period January to December 2017 today in the National Assembly.
During the consideration of $89.897M supplementary for the staffing of the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA), the Opposition side of the House questioned the authority under which the supplementary was bought.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams SC, put paid to the opposition query as he explained that Section Two of the SARA Act designates the Ministry of Legal Affairs with this authority and that the ministry was acting merely to transfer the money to SARA which will be responsible for its own operations and expenditure as a semi-autonomous agency.
Minister Jordan also explained that supplementary papers are intended to amend the national budget. He pointed out that as many as five supplementary papers can be brought to the House adjusting the national budget.
Minister Raphael Trotman, a former Speaker, brought further clarity by explaining that ruling No 5 of 2013 by the Speaker resolved this contention. He explained every supplementary paper has been in this format “from time immemorial”.
Speaker, Dr. Barton Scotland, questioned why this ruling should not be adhered to. Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira sought to filibuster, claiming her side of the House does not dispute the 2013 ruling but said sought to question its applicability.
After listening to presentations from both sides of the House the Speaker said he would uphold the No 5 of 2013 ruling and the considerations proceeded. While the current estimates were passed without issue, the passage of a total $26.424M, the opposition sought to stall capital estimate for SARA however, the capital estimates went to an individual vote and was successfully passed.
By: Tiffny Rhodius