16 speakers, 12 hours per day- Budget Debates commence

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(GINA) In accordance with an agreement reached between the Government and Opposition Chief Whips, the debates of the 2017 estimates and expenditures will go for 12 hours for each of the five days.

There will be 16 speakers each on the first four days, and four on the fifth and final day. This was read to the National Assembly today, by Speaker, Dr. Barton Scotland.

The House Speaker, reading in the National Assembly a letter submitted to his office by the two Chief Whips, explained that the two sides, (Government and Parliamentary Opposition) have agreed for the Ministers and Shadow Ministers to speak for 30 minutes each, and for the Back Benchers to speak for 20 minutes.

He explained that for the first four days, the parties have agreed that the sessions would not end until the 16 speakers scheduled to make their presentations have done so.

The four speakers on the final day will include Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo and Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan according to the agreement. Scotland said the four members would have equal speaking time.

The Speaker described the time allotted for the speakers as more than adequate and warned Members of Parliament that the progress of the debates is in their hands.

“We are well in a position to handle all our work,” the Speaker said, putting the MPs on notice that he is not in favour of granting extension of time beyond what was agreed to by the two Chief Whips.

The Sitting times for the 2017 Estimates and Expenditure Debates are as follows: 10am-midday, sitting; 12 Midday-1 pm, suspension; 1pm -5pmsitting; 5pm-6pm suspension; 6pm-7:30pm sitting, 7pm-8pm suspension and 8pm-10pm sitting.

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