– believes that no confidence motion is the reason
By Abena Rockcliffe
The Alliance For Change (AFC) yesterday expressed disappointment that there has been no effort to convene a sitting of the National Assembly since recess period came to an end last Friday.
The AFC said that it strongly believes that the delay in the announcement of a sitting comes as a result of the No Confidence Motion that it tabled against the government. The Motion was submitted to Clerk of the Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs on August 7. It was filed by AFC Vice-Chairman and Member of Parliament, Moses Nagamootoo and seconded by AFC Member of Parliament Cathy Hughes.
Speaker of the House, Raphael Trotman, has since pronounced that it met the criteria for Motions. The Motion, once passed, will result in the resignation of President Donald Ramotar and his entire Cabinet. The President will be forced to call General Elections within three months.
In a letter to Isaacs dated October 10, Nagamootoo requested that it be placed on the Order Paper as a matter of priority, to take precedence over all other business of the House and for debate at the earliest sitting.
The AFC, in a missive released yesterday said that it expected that a sitting of the House would have been scheduled for October 16, “but that seems unlikely given that no Order Paper has been published.”
The statement said, “Given the importance of the Motion, the AFC is pressing for a Sitting to be called on October 22 or 24 which is permissible under the Parliamentary Standing Orders, or on any other day of the following week for the motion to be debated. In this regard, the AFC is in contact with the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. David Granger so that the earliest possible date can be set.”
Usually the Parliamentary Chief Whip for the Opposition, Amna Ally and Government, Gail Teixeira, would agree on a date for the next sitting of the National Assembly and this is proposed to the rest of the House at the end of a sitting, for the next.
However, it differs in the case for the first sitting after recess. It is the prerogative of the government to announce the date for the first sitting immediately after recess.
When contacted yesterday, Teixeira made it a point to tell Kaieteur News that, “the government has the right to decide on a date for the next sitting when we are ready.”
Asked if that statement should have been taken to mean that the government is simply not prepared or ready for a sitting any time soon, the Member of Parliament responded, “we will decide when we decide…the government have the right to do so, is Kaieteur News trying to take away that right?”
Transforming to a gentle tone, Teixeira then moved to explain that government is taking under consideration the many matters that are to be dealt with in the House and is taking its time to do so strategically.
She said that as soon as the People’s Progressive Party administration is done with that process, it will set a date, “I am not sure what else I can say to you at this time.”
Ally, when contacted last evening, told Kaieteur News that she has been in contact with Teixeira on the issue but so far, discussions have gone nowhere with it. This was a sentiment shared by Teixeira as well.
Ally said that A Partnership for National Unity (APNU)’s desire is to have the next sitting convened as soon as possible.
Even as he explained, last week that he has no idea when would be the next sitting, Leader of the Opposition, David Granger told the media last week that there are several items on APNU’s priority list including the conclusion of matters before the Committee of Privileges.
Parliament would dissolve if the No-Confidence Motion which the AFC tabled against the government is passed.
But Granger seems to want to get some amount of work done before such a time.
He said yesterday that his coalition is interested in addressing outstanding issues with Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh.
Asked last week if he desired for the No-Confidence to be treated as a priority, Granger reminded that it was an AFC piloted motion and that Party will make the final determination on its prioritization.
Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs was reported in sections of the media as saying that a meeting of the Parliamentary Management Committee is set for Wednesday, October 15 where a date for the first sitting is expected to be set.
He told media operatives that he wasn’t sure if a date for the next sitting will indeed be set then, but confirmed that Parliament will not meet before.
Following the agreement of a date, the Order Paper will then be set with the items to be addressed at the first sitting.
Last week, the Speaker of the House of Assembly said there is a full agenda of critical issues to be addressed too when the House resumes. These include the Anti – Money Laundering Bill, the Telecommunications and Public Utilities Commission Bill, the Education Bill and the Customs Amendment Bill.
He also told the media that the outcome of the No-Confidence Motion cannot be anticipated, taking into consideration the many possibilities that surround it. He said that one of those possibilities is that it could remain on the Order Paper for several months; awaiting a debate.
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