Jul 08, 2016 News
Chief Whip of the People’s Progressive Party Civic, Gail Teixeira, has expressed her party’s dissatisfaction with the government for not allowing some Bills to go before a parliamentary select committee.
These remarks were made during a press conference hosted by Texeira yesterday at Freedom House. According to Texeira, it is procedure that large bills are sent to be scrutinized by the select committee.
She noted some of the bills which have not undergone this process. These were, the Insurance Bill, The Public Utilities Commission Bill and the Wildlife Conservation and Management Bill, which are still pending on the audit paper.
Noting that her party was responsible for tabling the Wildlife Bill, Teixeira believes that it should have gone before the committee since the APNU-AFC Government would have made amendments to it.
The Chief Whip noted that her party’s request has been consistently denied by the government. She said that the most recent example is the Insurance Bill. According to her, there are issues in this Bill that require further examination.
Teixeira stated that there has not been any indication that the three Bills will go before the Parliament Select Committee as they ought to, due to their size and complexity.
“These Bills alone cover over 500 pages of legislation; it is unthinkable in any parliamentary democracy that such Bills will not be subjected to scrutiny by the select committee.”
The mechanism in parliament is two-fold, she said. She stated that the Bills can be debated and her party can offer amendments. Teixeira noted that this approach was employed and failed.
According to her, it is sacrosanct that these large Bills are sent to the PSC in the best interest of the people. She stated that the government appears to be reluctant to accept that the bills are in need of amendments.
Teixeira said that in the last parliament a number of Bills were amended by the opposition by a majority to remove the role of the Minister regarding the Anti-Money Laundering and Financing Terrorism Bill, and placed it in parliament.
She said that it is extraordinarily interesting that in another instance when a Bill was brought to parliament by Minister Joseph Harmon. The government wanted to amend the Broadcasting Act, to remove the role of government in naming the board of the Broadcasting Authority. The idea was to replace the government with a parliamentary mechanism.
According to her this is one Bill that the former opposition wanted to bring in the 10th parliament but has not re-tabled for this parliament.
She said that the new Bills which have come forward particularly the Wildlife Bill contain amendments. One amendment is to insert the authority of the Minister to deal with licenses and permits.
Teixeira believes that this authority is intrusive and as a result strengthens the argument for the Bill to go before the Parliamentary Select Committee.
The Insurance Bill 2016 was passed recently and is expected to revolutionize the insurance industry in Guyana. The Bill was brought to the house by Finance Minister Winston Jordan and was subjected to calls by the opposition for the Bill to be considered by the select committee. However these calls were defeated by the governing majority.
The Bills which are now on the Order Paper have been around for quite some time but their passage has been delayed for several reasons.
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