Establishment of an office of Leader of the Opposition, still to be implemented
The Guyana Constitution in Article 110 documents that “There shall be an office of the Leader of the Opposition, …” It further records in Article 184 that “The Leader of the Opposition shall be elected by and from among the nongovernmental members of the National Assembly at a meeting held under the chairmanship of the Speaker of the National Assembly, who shall not have the right to vote.”
Based on the last elections, we have in place a “Leader of the Opposition” duly appointed, but the second part in relation to Article 110, the establishment of an office of Leader of the Opposition, is still be implemented. When will the resources for such an Office be made available, given the role and functions performed by the Leader of the Opposition?
A Government-owned and functioning building with appropriate staff must be provided at tax payer expense to ensure this part of the Constitution becomes operable. Consider the current status of former Presidents who have resources paid for by the state; and consider the role and function of the current “Leader of the Opposition”? Quite obviously, we have a lopsided arrangement which can and must be fixed.
Moreover, brief research shows the following. In the United Kingdom, opposition parties are provided with what is termed ‘short money’ to manage parliamentary duties. More specifically, the ‘Leader of the Opposition’ is allocated funds for the annual running costs of the office for the ‘Leader of the Opposition”. (http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons/lib/research/briefings/snpc-01663.pdf).
Given the above circumstances, I call on all serious Guyanese to put their expertise to this task and have it fully implemented in the shortest possible time. Parliamentary Democracies have no space for unfulfilled Constitutional Mandates.
C. Kenrick Hunte