Speaker rejects PPP/C motion on Exxon bonus
Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland Friday dismissed a People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) – sponsored motion to have the 2018 Budget amended to incorporate the US$18M the Government received from ExxonMobil.
In rejecting the motion, Dr Scotland explained that the Opposition’s motion did not satisfy the requirement of being of urgent importance since the issue of the signing bonus was first raised in the House seven days ago.
He explained that the consideration of the estimates continued throughout but the Opposition Members only approached the House on the final day of the consideration of the estimates.
The motion was in the name of the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Irfaan Ali, who is unavoidably absent from today’s session. As such, Ali handed over the responsibility to Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo who made his case for the motion to be debated.
Jagdeo asserted that the issue has not been long in the public domain and that it is urgent because if the estimates are passed then the House would be sanctioning an illegality.
“If we were to pass these estimates as presented by the Minister of Finance we would knowingly agree to an illegality that is being perpetrated by this House. I can demonstrate clearly that it is illegal to withhold money received as revenue and not pay into the Consolidated Fund or any other Fund provided by the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act (FMA) 2003,” the Opposition Leader stated.
The motion, which was signed by Opposition Members of Parliament Irfaan Ali and Gail Teixeira, requested that the business of the Committee of Supply be adjourned to allow the Finance Minister Winston Jordan amend the Financial Estimates of the Revenues and Expenditures of Guyana.
This means that the Opposition wants the US$18M removed from the special account at the Bank of Guyana and deposited into the Consolidated Fund.
The motion said this move would be in compliance with the Constitution and Laws of Guyana.
The Business of the House today was delayed for more than three hours as the Speaker and the Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs considered the motion which was submitted late last night.
The PPP/C was hopeful that the motion would have been allowed in order to have a debate and subsequent vote on the US$18M signing bonus which was only brought to the fore a few days ago.
The motion argues that all revenues or other monies received or raised by Guyana shall be paid into the Consolidated Fund.
Given that the motion was dismissed, the House will resolve itself into the Committee of Supply to consider the two remaining agencies: the Ministries of Education and Finance.