Sep 01, 2022 News
Kaieteur News – Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton said the APNU+AFC Coalition will not submit nominees for the Public Accountability and Oversight Committee as well as the Investment Committee for the Natural Resource Fund (NRF) until its court challenge on the legality of the law that brought the fund into force is determined.
In an exclusive interview with this publication on Wednesday, Norton said he did not receive any correspondence seeking an Opposition nominee for the Public Accountability and Oversight Committee. “The only letter I received is for a nominee for the Investment Committee of the Natural Resource Fund. No other letter and we haven’t submitted a nominee,” he said.
When he was asked to share the reason for the Opposition’s decision not to submit a nominee for that board, he explained, “I said the matter is before the Court on the Natural Resource Fund and that will inform our action.” He was reminded that the Opposition had submitted a nominee for the NRF Board but he held out that the outcome of the Court challenge will determine the Opposition’s next decision. Additionally, the Opposition Leader argued that several nominees were submitted for the Natural Resource Fund Board, but were ignored by President Irfaan Ali. Instead, the government chose a candidate on behalf of the Opposition, he pointed out.
It was on Tuesday afternoon that the President sworn in the three bodies to govern the revenue stream from oil and gas. On the NRF Board, Major General Joseph Singh, MSS will serve as Chairperson. He would be supported by Former Foreign Affairs Minister and Permanent Representative of Guyana to the United Nations, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Professor Compton Bourne, O.E, former Parliamentarian, Mr. Dunstan Barrow, and long standing member of the Private Sector Commission, Mr. Ramesh Dookhoo.
With respect to the Investment Committee, Executive Director of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Richard Rambarran, Attorney-at-Law, Michael Munroe, and Chartered Banker, MBA Ms. Shaleeza Shaw, received their Letters of Appointment. Shaw will serve as Chairperson. Mr. Lauris Hukumchand, who is currently overseas, will be appointed at a later time.
As for the Public Accountability and Oversight Committee (PAOC), the following persons were selected to serve, Mr. Clement Sealy (Chairperson), Mr. Abu Zaman, Mr. Ryan Alexander, Attorney-at-Law Teni Housty, Mr. Dawn Gardener, Pastor Wendell Jeffery, and Aslim Singh. President Ali noted that Mr. Desmond Sears and Ms. Savatri Balbahadur are currently not in the country but would be appointed at a later time. He told the media that the government was still awaiting an Opposition nominee for the PAOC. The NRF Act which governs the oil resources was passed in the National Assembly in December last year amid mayhem in the House. The Opposition had staged a protest in a bid to stall the passage of the legislation, which they believed was highly flawed. They were clamouring for the then Bill to be sent to the Special Select Committee for proper scrutiny, as the proposed legislation was tabled only on December 16 and was slated to be debated on December 29 and passed. Several of their Members of Parliament (MPs) were suspended for “unparliamentary” behaviour in this regard.
In April, the political group headed to the High Court to challenge the legality of the passage of the Act. Nonetheless, the Opposition had submitted the names of Chartered Accountant and Attorney-at-Law, Christopher Ram and former Head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Dr. Adams but they were rejected by the Government to sit on the NRF Board. Instead, the administration said former PNCR Minister, Dunstan Barrow will suit the role.
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