Private Members’ Day in National Assembly once again denied- Opposition
In accordance with the Standing Orders, at every fourth sitting of the National Assembly, Private Members’ Business takes precedence; popularly known as “Opposition Days”, however, the Peoples Progressive Party/Civic says it is being constantly denied its right in the Assembly.
In a statement today, prior to the 45th sitting of the National Assembly slated for 13:00hrs, the Leader of the Opposition noted that today, (November 04, 2016) is supposed to be Private Members’ Day. He noted that was reflected on an Order Paper circulated on the night of the October 27th, 2016.
However, it was stated that “to our surprise, the Parliament Office circulated a Supplementary Order Paper on the night of November 1, 2016, which included a motion on President Granger’s most recent address to the National Assembly with a suspension motion approved by the Speaker to allow it to be debated at the November 4th sitting.”
The statement added that the Government’s Chief Whip, Amna Ally has asserted that this is a government day and not a Private Members Day.
“If the latter is so which we dispute vigorously based on the Standing Orders and the constitution, the Government should be ashamed to have one item alone which required a suspension motion as it did not have the required 6 days notice,” the Opposition Leader said.
He noted that “once again, the PPPC Parliamentarians are being subjected to the constant battle to have its right to a Private Members Day upheld,” highlighting that “the role of a parliamentary opposition to hold the government accountable and to have their day in the legislature is a fundamental premise guarded in democratic parliaments.”
According to the statement, in this the 17 months and 44 sittings of the 11th Parliament of Guyana, the PPPC Parliamentary Opposition has been able to have only four (4) Private Members’ and all after much controversy and battles to actually have these days. These were December 12th, 2015, January 14th, 2016, May 14th, 2016 and August 4th 2016.