-Speaker disallows AFC motion against Finance Minister
Alliance for Change (AFC) Member of Parliament, Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan, yesterday brought a motion before the National Assembly against Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh and Housing and Water Minister Irfaan Ali for contempt of the House.
Ramjattan moved to have this matter sent to the Privileges Committee which would determine the sanctions that should be taken against the Ministers for “misleading this Honourable House.”
The Speaker of the House, Ralph Ramkarran disallowed the motion against the Finance Minister, but allowed the one against Ali.
He noted that no prima facie case had been made out against Singh, and so the motion has to stand down.
However, in the case involving Ali, Ramkarran said, “I have had an opportunity to consider, for some time, the motion before me and in this matter I find a prima facie case has been made out and the matter is referred to the Privileges Committee.”
According to the AFC Member of Parliament, Singh presented a financial paper to the House, on January 11th, in which approval was sought for Supplementary Appropriations of $6.6B, $4B of which was sought as a provision for housing development.
He pointed out that $430M has already been budgeted for and voted for at the beginning of 2009 for housing development.
Ramjattan added that in the Estimates for the year 2010, presented to the National Assembly on February 8th, 2010, it was noted that $4,430,000,000 was paid out and spent in 2009.
“There is a patent contradiction as to the representation of the Honourable Minister of Finance,” he said.
Minister Ali will be given an opportunity to defend his position when the Privileges Committee meets.
The Speaker of the House made it clear that with regard to the Housing and Water Minister’s case, it is not a finding of guilt, rather, it is an allegation that will be fully addressed at the level of the Privileges Committee.