The events in the National Assembly on Thursday 18th July 2013 makes it clear to all Guyanese that the PPP/C Administration is totally uninterested in Local Government Elections and generally incapable of properly managing the affairs of the country; more particularly, the delivering of electricity at an affordable price to the Guyanese people from a Hydro Electric facility.
In accordance with the way the business of the National Assembly is structured, yesterday was Private Members Day. That meant that Opposition members business had priority over Government business.
The first substantive item to be debated was a Motion by the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. David Granger, MP, for the Appointment of a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the incidents of Maritime and Riverain incidents, injuries and deaths.
Today’s Stabroek Newspaper (Friday 19th July 2013) carried a response by Minister of Works, Mr. Robeson Benn to a question asked by the Leader of the Opposition on the said subject. He reports 42 persons were killed in marine accidents over the last 18 months and several others injured. APNU wanted to do something about that.
Based on the realization that four Local Government Bills which were previously sent to a Select Committee had returned to the House and the importance with which we place on Local Democracy, APNU with the support of the AFC agreed to exercise our right to amend the standing order making way for debate and passage of the four Local Government Elections Bills namely:
- Municipal and District Councils (Amendment) Bill 2012
- Local Government (Amendment) Bill 2012
- Local Government Commission Bill 2012
- Fiscal Transfers Bill 2012
When called upon by the Speaker to present the four Bills, the Minister of Local Government, Mr. Ganga Persaud became “MUTE” and despite the urging of the Speaker of the National Assembly, arrogantly and contemptuously remained SILENT. This action by the Minister effectively prevented the National Assembly from delivering to the Guyanese people the legal instruments which would facilitate them taking back their communities from the Interim Management Communities imposed by the PPP/C. The people of Guyana and all stakeholders now await action by the Government.
The next items for debate were:
- Hydro Electric Power (Amendment) Bill 2013.
- Limit on amount outstanding under Guarantees given under the Guarantee of Loans (Public Corporations and Companies) Act.
It is to be noted that the amendment to the Hydro Electric Act was placed on the Order Paper for debate at the last sitting of the National Assembly on Thursday 4th July 2013 but was deferred by the Government. Since that deferral there were two further amendments to the Bill proposed by the Government. The last and more substantial amendment filed by the Prime Minister on the day of the sitting, Thursday 18th July 2013, and placed among the bundle of papers MPs saw when they arrived in the National Assembly.
Having regard to its late submission MPs would have had no time to fully cogitate on the significance of the amendments proposed by the Government.
As a matter of fact it appears that the Prime Minister himself was not conversant with the amendments as can be seen from his weak presentation of the Bill.
In the face of the Opposition unwillingness to proceed to debate amendments to the law in this fashion, the Government insisted on doing so and the result is for all to see.
Knowing that the Opposition has the Majority in the National Assembly and still deciding to proceed showed the character of the PPP/C; Arrogant, Contemptuous and Suicidal.