Jan 11, 2014 News
By Dwijendra Rooplall
With the start of the New Year, and Parliament just around the corner, many persons who would have witnessed the seemingly interminable deadlock and uncompromising stances by government and the political opposition with respect to passage of Bills in the National Assembly last year, want to know what will happen this time around.
Attorney General Anil Nandlall has expressed that with respect to Parliament in 2014 he will be re-tabling some of the bills that were defeated by the combined opposition when they were presented by Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee. Nandlall asserts that unless he is advised differently, those bills will be reintroduced, either by him or any other Minister designated by the President.
With respect to new Bills that the government will be advancing, Nandlall articulated that a series of them would be coming in the next few months.
“Currently the Attorney General’s Chambers have within the drafting department the Solid Waste Management Bill, the Education Bill, the Court Recording Proceedings Bill and the Hire Purchase Bill among others.”
According to Nandlall, all the Bills listed are in the national interest.
“They are all non-political, so to my mind there is no rational basis or logical ground upon which the opposition can reasonably withhold their support from them.”
Meanwhile, Executive Member and Treasurer of the Alliance For Change (AFC) Dominic Gaskin, opined that consensus might be reached in the National Assembly this time around since some of the legislation was voted against because “it was tabled by Minister Rohee who the assembly decided it had no confidence in.” According to Gaskin, Bills tabled by the Attorney General “will be looked at in a different light.”
Gaskin emphasised that the AFC is generally supportive of anything that strengthens institutions or that is good for Guyana and rejects that which is deemed detrimental.
“What we are not supportive of is legislation which is either designed to do harm to the country or to favour one section of society, or designed to benefit certain people… like the Presidential Benefits Act, for instance, that is a classic one…things like that we are strongly opposed to, but generally I don’t think we are out of touch with the needs of this country. We support anything that is good for the country and where legislation is inadequate, it can always go to the select committee for work.”
According to Gaskin, his party is not in the business of just opposing for no good reason, but has priorities which focus on strengthening the national institutions and the establishment of the Constitutional Commissions.
Leader of the opposition coalition, A Partnership for National Unity, David Granger said that the opposition has passed certain measures, resolutions and rules and “has not seen any willingness on the part of the Executive or the President in particular, to give assent to those Bills, even to implement the resolutions… even when those resolutions were concerned with purely humanitarian matters such as investigations of children’s deaths in the North West or trafficking in human persons.”
He said however that “as far as the Bills are concerned, yes we are prepared to pass Bills which are in the public interest for public good, but we made a decision in APNU that we will not pass measures done by Mr. Rohee unless there are certain special humanitarian cases, things that affect members of those forces and individuals.”
So the question is: Will there be Parliamentary consensus in 2014?
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