Who’s who in Parliament
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After each general election, the Members of Parliament elect a Speaker from among any Member (not being a Minister or a Parliamentary Secretary) or any other suitable person to preside over the proceedings of the House. The Speaker oversees the administration of the House and chairs several committees including the Parliamentary Management Committee. The Speaker is also the spokesperson and representative of the National Assembly in its relations with the executive and other bodies outside of the House.
The Prime Minister is the Leader of the Government of the party having the greatest number of seats in the National Assembly. He is appointed by the President, and is responsible to the House for the administration of public affairs.
In accordance with article 106 of the Constitution there shall be a Cabinet for Guyana, which shall consist of the President, the Prime Minister, the Vice – Presidents and such other Ministers as may be appointed to it by the President. The Cabinet shall aid and advise the President in the general direction and control of the Government of Guyana and shall be collectively responsible therefor to Parliament.
The Leader of the Opposition is elected by and from non-governmental Members of the National Assembly at a meeting held under the chair of the Speaker, who does not vote.
The Deputy Speaker is elected in a similar manner to the Speaker, except that the Speaker, if present, presides over the elections. The Deputy Speaker replaces the Speaker when the latter is unavoidably absent.
There are two Chief Whips: one on the Government’s side and one on the Opposition’s side. In carrying out his/her duties, he/she is directly responsible to the Prime Minister and Leader of the House and/or Leader of the Opposition, respectively. He/she sits on the Government’s side with his/her counterpart of the largest Opposition Party constitutes the usual channels through which consultations are held with other parties and Members about business arrangements and other matters of concern of the House.
The Member of a political party responsible for its management in the House.
Seated at a table in front of the Speaker are the Clerk and Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly, other procedural officers are seated at the right of the Clerk. The Clerk is the senior official of the Parliament Office’s administration and keeps the official records of proceedings. At the end of the table lies the Mace, the symbol of authority of the House. At the end of the chamber opposite the Speaker, sits the Sergeant-at-Arms. This person is responsible for the security and maintenance of the Parliament Buildings and has ceremonial duties. House officers and Members are assisted by parliamentary office assistants, who carry messages to Members in the Chamber.
Parliamentary secretaries are appointed by the President to help Cabinet Ministers. They table documents or answers questions for a Minister, participate in debates on bills, speak to the committees on government policies and proposals, and serve as a link between parliamentarians and Ministers.