Saturday, March 17, 2012

Opposition advanced frivolous & baseless arguments in attempt to stymie approval of Supplementary Paper Seven

Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, said that the March 15 sitting of the National Assembly saw several significant and favourable developments; foremost of which was the approval of Financial Paper Eight.
He said members of the Parliamentary Opposition made attempts to frustrate the consideration and approval of certain items in Supplementary Paper Seven and the entire Paper Eight by advancing frivolous and baseless arguments; several straight-forward items were questioned and in some instances opposed without any reason grounded in objectivity and rationality.
This he said, is enough to lead one to the inevitable conclusion that this was merely, “a flexing of political muscle and power for the sake of demonstrating what the majority of one could do in the Parliament without rhyme or reason.”
Notwithstanding these efforts, Government stood firm in its articulation of arguments to demonstrate that the Opposition’s objections were baseless and should not be accommodated under the Standing Orders which govern the operations of the Parliament.
Prime Minister and Leader of the House, Samuel Hinds, subsequently made a detailed submission on the issue making reference to relevant statutes and standing orders in Guyana, as well as comparable jurisdictions and the authoritative source on parliamentary matters by Erskine May, which is typically used as guidance on matters not covered by the country’s own standing orders.
Having considered the arguments put forward by Government, delivered two significant rulings; whereby in relation to paper seven, he ruled that whilst the National Assembly acted in accordance with the relevant standing orders in considering the paper, the Minister could return to the House for reconsideration of the items that were not approved.
“Given what transpired at the last sitting, the Speaker’s recognition and ruling that the items could be re-submitted is an outcome that we would have to work with… it is my intention to bring them back to the National Assembly for reconsideration and I hope that on that occasion they will be favourably considered,” the Minister said.
Discussions would have to be held with technical staff from the Parliament Office and the standing orders and other existing precedence will have to be studied in order to identify the form in which the re-committal of the four unapproved items will be done.
With regards to Financial Paper Eight, the Speaker’s ruling disallowed and rejected the attempts made by A Partnership for National Unity’s (APNU’s) point-person on financial matters, Carl Greenidge to frustrate the approval of this paper.
“The Government welcomed and was pleased at the Speaker’s findings in favour of the merits of our argument on this matter,” he said.
When his previous attempts failed, Greenidge again tried to raise objections as to why consideration of paper eight should not be proceeded with, and was again disallowed by the Speaker.
The Supplementary Paper Eight was then passed in its entirety, an outcome that Government regards as positive. Read more............

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