Hello Guyana! This week we will share with you the Role of a Member of Parliament (MP).
ROLES OF MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT (MP)
In Guyana, a person elected to the National Assembly under the provisions of the Guyana Constitution and the Laws of Guyana is referred to as a Member of Parliament. In a broader context, a Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a Parliament.
Once elected, Members of Parliament represent all Guyanese and not only the electorate who voted for them. As such, Members of Parliament are vested with several rights and privileges, to enable them to discharge their duties effectively.
- MPs are expected to attend all Sittings of the National Assembly and all Parliamentary Committees of which they are members. If an elected Member is absent for more than six consecutive Sittings of the National Assembly without obtaining leave from the Speaker he will lose his seat in the National Assembly.
- Article 65(1) of the Constitution provides for MPs to make laws for the peace, order and good government of Guyana.
- Standing Order 53 states that any Member may move for leave to introduce a bill of which he/she has given notice. It must be noted that except on the recommendation or with the consent of the Cabinet, signified by a Minister, the Assembly shall not proceed upon any bill (including any amendment to a bill) which, in the opinion of the person presiding, makes provision for any of the following purposes:
- for imposing or increasing any tax;
- for imposing any charge upon the Consolidated Fund or any other public fund of Guyana or for altering any such charge other than reducing it;
- for the payment, issue of withdrawal from the Consolidated Fund or any other public fund of Guyana or any monies not charged thereon or any increase in the amount of such a payment, issue or withdrawal; and
- for compounding or remitting any debt due to Guyana.
- In accordance with Article 171 (1) of the Constitution, MPs have the power to present petitions on behalf of citizens and private bodies. A petition is a formal request submitted by an individual or by a group of persons for the attention of MPs requesting relief or remedial action by the National Assembly.
- MPs have the power to increase or decrease the funds allocated to a specific item or program in the National Budget.
- MPs can table motions in the National Assembly.
- Through Parliamentary Committees, namely the Appointive Committee, Members of Parliament have the duty to be involved in the appointment of members of Constitutional Commissions, for example the Public Service Commission (PSC) and the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC).
- MPs scrutinise the work of the Government and ensure transparency and accountability by asking questions of Ministers on Government Programmes and administration.
- MPs may highlight the grievances of their constituents to the relevant authorities.
- MPs debate bills and other matters of topical interest.
- MPs can table amendments to any bill or motion tabled in the Assembly.
In next week’s edition of the Parliament Corner, we will introduce the Members of the present Parliament, the Eleventh Parliament to you.