Standing Orders Committee1670 10 Jan, 2013
Ms. Ally: I rise to move the adoption of second Report of the Standing Orders Committee and in so doing, Sir, I wish to allude to a few points.
You will recall, Mr. Speaker, that in this honourable House, on 19th March, 2012, Dr. Rupert Roopnarine moved a motion on the composition of the Parliamentary Management Committee (PMC). In it was that the composition should be nine Members and should be determined in accordance with the seat allocation to the political parties in the National Assembly. In the Standing Orders Committee, after much deliberation, unanimity prevailed. We agreed to proceed on consensus building. We agreed to the notion of parity. Hence, we signalled our intention to agree with a proposal of having equal number of members on the Parliamentary Management Committee. We, therefore, did not proceed with amending Standing Order 85 (2). The Parliamentary Management Committee will therefore remain with a five-five composition in keeping with the spirit of consensus building and parity.
Secondly, again on 19th March, 2012, Member of Parliament Mr. Joseph Harmon moved a motion to amend Standing Order 86 (2) and this was done in keeping with (a) the spirit of the reality of the Tenth Parliament and (b) bearing in mind one of the functions of the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee which is to scrutinise Government’s policy and administration in keeping with the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana.
We on this side of the House recognise when it is time for consensus building and parity and when we have to be on high alert. To scrutinise Government’s business, we have to be on high alert and up the antennas. In dealing with the Government’s business we have had tremendous experiences such as the National Communications Network (NCN) fiasco, the procurement of drug in the Ministry of Health, the award of contracts, issues in the Auditor General’s Report and misdemeanours of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), among others.
Sir, make no mistake, this Opposition will not let up with scrutinising this People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) Government. We in the combined Opposition must satisfy the electorate because whilst on this occasion they were not able to put us in a position of forming the Government, it is a “take note”.
Mr. Speaker, I wish to conclude by saying that as a result of our deliberations in the Standing Orders Committee, Standing Order 86 (2) has been amended to reflect a seven-member Committee with one alternate on each side, the Opposition having four Members and the Government having three Members.
With the adoption of this report, Sir, the Parliamentary Sectoral Committees will now be fully and properly constituted and can proceed with their work.
I thank you. [Applause]
Ms. Ally (replying): Very briefly, I want to say that the question of the function of the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee must be very clear in our minds that the issue in the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee is that of scrutiny and the Government Members cannot want to have the majority to scrutinise themselves. Why then did the Government not appoint a Government Minister to be the chairman of the PAC, the Public Accounts Committee? [Ms. Shadick: The Constitution said that it has to be your person.] I am glad that you are following the Constitution.
The question of fickleness, as the Chief Whip referred to, I would like to make two points on that. One, it is not a question of being fickle, but might I refer that it is the reflection, as Mr. Nagamootoo said, of the will of the majority.
Two, the history of their governance allows for us to take such a position.
We may have ambitions, but let us examine that not at all times we achieve those. With these few words, Sir, I will ask that this report be committed for adoption.
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