– says that the Legislature is not without weapons
A Partnership for National Unity’s (APNU) Shadow Finance Minister, Carl Greenidge, said yesterday that while the government, has attempted to silence the legislature, the body will not be silenced.
It is not without weapons, he said.
Greenidge said that it is imperative to remind President Donald Ramotar of such. In light of the prorogation of the Parliament, it is clear that Ramotar’s “disgraced Presidency is bent on the further abuse of power and rape of the economy,” Greenidge said.
He said that the National Assembly was never intended to be superior or junior to the executive, let alone to the President.
He said that it would be inconceivable that the public would sit idly by if the President tried to close down the courts, one of the three pillars of the constitution. The others are the Executive and the Parliament.
In similar vein, he said that the public should not entertain President Donald Ramotar’s “ridiculous excuse” for closing down the National Assembly.
This very action by the President and his Cabinet including the Attorney General, shows just how wise “we in the Legislature were, in not approving more powers for the Executive by way of the proposed amendments to the anti-money laundering and prevention of financing of terrorism legislation.”
He said that the National Assembly has its role as defined in the Constitution and that includes the passage of laws and to deliberate on the state of the country and Government’s policies.
A Presidency which believes that it ought to be able to formulate policies, to pass legislation in support of the policies, to assent to the same policies and then to implement those policies without hindrance is clearly bent on dictatorship, Greenidge said.
He said too that the Legislature will not condone this, whatever the pretext.
Greenidge added, “ We will not pass any legislation that seeks to cover the government’s actions ex-post. So no expenditure undertaken outside of sums already approved from the Consolidated Fund could be approved by the House.
“That means that Supplementary Provisions and Contingency Fund advances will not be entertained. There could be no question of Statements of Excess being legal in these circumstances.”
Greenidge maintained also that the real reason behind the President’s prorogation of the Assembly was to give the Ministers and the PPP time to garner and spend state funds unfettered by the scrutiny and need for Assembly approval, a charge President Ramotar has debunked.
The two Opposition parties will not approve expenditure based on the usual practices of awarding contracts without reference to the Procurement rules, Greenidge said.
All contracts awarded in the period of the prorogation will be subject to re-consideration by the Assembly. He said that government has an obsession with the big projects which enable them to secure kickbacks and fill its pockets and those of its associates.
“They could be expected to make maximum use of the prorogation to raid the treasury and the extra-budgetary sources such as the GGMC, NICIL, Lottery Funds etc,” he added.
The Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee remarked that within days leading up to the 2011 elections, former President Bharrat Jagdeo had awarded broadcasting licences to privileged foreign companies and members of the PPP and their relatives.
He said that licences for gold and other mineral exploration along with exceptional fiscal concessions and tax holidays had also been awarded in the same way.
Should President Donald Ramotar try to follow the same line during this six-month period, every single one of the awards would be subject to being reopened and scrutinized, Greenidge said.
“We will overturn everything that is not transparent; we will overturn them. Everything they try to implement that does not adhere to the principles of transparency and accountability, and respect for the law we will unimplement.”
He said that international investors, bilateral partners and local businessmen should beware that all contracts should be negotiated with both eyes clearly focused on the law and its provisions.
Greenidge said that the political opposition will “look for side agreements and sweeteners” which the government has been employing in order to attract some investors or to get them to take on burdens that are improper.
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