Friday, February 3, 2012

Gov't, joint opposition reach agreement on several issues


February 2, 2012

The representatives of the Alliance For Change and A Partnership for National Unity met with His Excellency President Ramotar and his delegation as agreed on Monday, January 30, 2012 at the Office of the President. The meeting agreed to the establishment of 3 inter-parliamentary party committees as follows: i) the Governance (non- parliamentary) Committee which would focus on state boards, GECOM, Advisory Committee on Broadcasting and the public and private media and identified security concerns; ii) the Parliament /Constitution Committee would address issues regarding composition of parliamentary committees, status and implementation of the Parliamentary Special Select Committee’s report on the Sir Davies’ Report, appointment of the Public Procurement Commission, and conclusion of the local government reform as well as a policy on statutory commissions; and, iii) the Economic (Non- Budget 2012)Committee would focus on Old Age Pensions, housing incentives for specific categories of workers and the poor and vulnerable. The members of the APNU and the AFC representatives to meet with Minister Dr. Ashni Singh and Minister Irfaan Ali on Budget 2012 were identified as Mr. Carl Greenidge and Mr. Winston Jordan and Mr. Prakash Ramjattan and Mr. Gerhard Ramsaroop, respectively. Several key issues were selected for plenary discussions whilst others were considered within the remit of the Tax Review Committee. The AFC and APNU expressed their interest in meeting with and presenting their views to the Tax Review Committee appointed by the President to review the entire taxation system. There was no objection to this request and efforts would be made to facilitate this. In addition there were some issues that the meeting decided required further discussion. One such related to the AFC proposal to review major projects such as Amaila Falls Hydro-project and others and have these sent to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economic Services; alternatively the APNU preferred the establishment of a Task Force that would carry out a review. The President cautioned the meeting on the sensitivity of this issue and stated that this required further discussion at the plenary. The meeting agreed to continue discussion on this issue at the plenary level. Much of the meeting, however, focused on prioritizing the issues that each committee would examine and the parties committed to name their representatives to each at the next scheduled meeting on Tuesday, February 7, 2012. Specific issues were extracted for discussions between the President and the Leader of the Opposition in accordance with the constitutional provisions at a meeting to be held next week.

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