Work of Constitutional Reform Committee stalled by Opposition’s non-attendance

AG said Committee cannot move forward without support of Opposition
– Govt’s commitment to Constitutional reform unwavering

DPI, Guyana, Monday, December 10, 2018

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Basil Williams, SC., who is also the Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Constitutional Reform, said a meeting of the Committee called on Friday, December 7, was only attended by the Government Members of Parliament (MP).

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams, SC.

The Attorney General (AG) said Opposition MP, Priya Manickchand, who was the only Opposition Member at the meeting, left before it was convened.

Nevertheless, AG Williams said several key decisions were made, among them, the inclusion of the Berbice Bar Association on the Committee, the appointment of the Deputy Chairperson by the Parliamentary Committee on Appointments and consideration of a possible expiry date for the life of the Committee.

The Attorney General made it clear that the Opposition continues to stall the work of the Committee which has only met five times since being constituted.

Even if we were to proceed without them, in relation to the type of amendments… some of them would require a two-thirds majority… those would meet a stumbling block in the National Assembly,” he noted.

The AG intends to call a meeting of the Committee later this week or as soon as members make known their availability.

Given the changing landscape, the AG said Constitutional reform is necessary to ensure the right legislation are enacted to meet this and other needs.

He reiterated the Coalition Administration’s commitment to the process and dispelled comments being made by the Opposition which suggest otherwise.

The bipartisan committee was formed in 2015. The committee comprises AG Williams who is the Chairman, Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, Minister of Education, Dr.  Nicolette Henry, Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman and Minister of Public Service, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine.

Opposition MPs on the committee include Anil Nandlall, Priya Manickchand, Dr. Frank Anthony and Adrian Anamayah.
The bill was sent to the committee to be examined as it is the body responsible for dealing with constitutional matters.

Stacy Carmichael.
Image: Keno George.

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