May 21, 2013 News
Although the People’s Progressive Party/Civic is not opposed to the notion of compromise in order to bring into being the highly anticipated Public Procurement Commission, moves will first have to be made by President Donald Ramotar to address some concerns.
Housing Minister Irfaan Ali noted that in terms of the Public Procurement Commission the Government will not see it through until all concerns are addressed. Some of the concerns lie in the fact that although names were submitted by both the Government and Opposition sides it was found that some of the names were not relevant because they were found to have conflict of interest positions.
“We see today that some of those names are being re-submitted.”
Speaking directly to the issue of compromise, Minister Ali said that “historically the PPP has compromised but it has always come back into our face every agreement we made…”
He noted that ahead of the establishment of the Public Procurement Commission, which is an issue that was dangling, even in the previous parliament, the President has made certain offers that must be dealt with.
“The President has made it clear even at a recent bilateral (meeting) between himself and the opposition leader that he is ready but there are a few concerns he has in relation to the Commission.”
“The ball is in the Office of the President’s Court…” Ali said. “We are committed to this but the President has some concerns that must be addressed.”
He also sought to emphasise that the concerns of the ruling party are certainly not isolated but rather, are rooted in other factors that can stymie the development of the country. There is the failure of the opposition to support the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (Amendment) Bill.
The Minister insisted that moves by the Government to give concessions have seen it not seeking to hog both the positions of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker. He added that the Government had also given up the Chairmanship of the Public Accounts Committee even when it held the majority in the National Assembly.
“We could have took that too….every single one of the Standing Committee – the Economic Services Committee, the Social Sector Committee, the Natural Resources Committee –we had rotational chairmanship of those committees between the opposition and us.”
Following the 2011 National Elections which saw the parliamentary opposition assuming the majority, Ali noted that “now you have Special Select Committees for a particular sector and the Minister is not even chairman…They (opposition) have taken all the chairmanship, they are taking all the majority on the Committees, we are even in the minority dealing with Government business,” complained Ali.
Ali said that the PPP has always been the party that has “held the wrong end of the stick but we have made concessions at every single phase of the political history of this country…our concessions are made in the national good and the national interest of this country.”
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