Hello Readers! In this week’s edition of the Parliament Corner we have decided to share with you some information concerning the pre Independence Legislature.
The pre Independence Legislature.
The Parliament of Guyana was created by the 1966 Constitution of Guyana, embodied in the Schedule of the Guyana Independence Order, made pursuant to the Guyana Independence Act, 1966. The Guyana Independence Act was passed on 12th May, 1966 and came into force on 26th May, 1966.
The First sitting of the National Assembly of the First Parliament of Guyana was held on the 26th May, 1966.
While the law establishing Guyana’s Parliament came into force on 26th May, 1966, it would be misleading to conclude that Guyana’s Parliamentary system was created at Independence.
From the years 1831 to 1928 the Law Making Body of British Guiana was the Court of Policy which consisted of the Governor, seven official members and eight elected members.
In 1928 a new Constitution was introduced and British Guiana became a British Crown Colony. A Legislative Council was established and replaced the Dutch created Court of Policy.
In 1953 a new Constitution was promulgated and a bicameral legislature, consisting of a State Council and a House of Assembly was introduced. The State Council consisted of nine members. The House of Assembly consisted of a Speaker, three ex officio Members and twenty four Elected Members. The Speaker was appointed by the Governor. A new and separate Department, which was called the Office of the Legislature, was established with a Clerk of the Legislature as its head, to serve the new bicameral Legislature. Also in 1953 a Ministerial system of Government and universal adult suffrage were introduced.
This new system of Government was short-lived. In October, 1953 the British suspended the Constitution and an Interim Government was established by the British Guiana (Constitutional) (Temporary Provisions) Order in Council, 1953. A Legislative council consisting of a Speaker, three ex officio Members and not more than twenty four Nominated Members was created by this Order on the 22nd December, 1953. The Speaker, who was not an ex officio member or a Nominated member of the Legislative Council, was appointed by the Governor.
In 1956 the British Guiana (Constitutional) (Temporary Provisions) Order in Council was amended. The Legislative Council appointed under the British Guiana (Constitution) (Temporary Provisions) Order in Council was dissolved with effect from 29th June, 1957.
A second Legislative Council constituted under the (British Guiana (Constitution) Temporary Provisions) Orders in Council 1953 and 1956 was appointed. The Legislative Council consisted of the Speaker, three ex – offcio members, fourteen elected members andselevenanominatedamembers.
In 1961 a new Constitution was established and a bicameral legislature consisting of a Legislative Assembly and a Senate was created. The Senate consisted of thirteen members, who were appointed by the Governor. The Legislative Assembly consisted of thirty five (35) members elected under the electoral system of First Past the Post.