MPs did not understand Constitution, PM says

- $30M educational project on Guyana’s constitution to be launched

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By Isanella Patoir

Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo has announced a $30M programme for a National Debating Competition about the Constitution of Guyana.

Alluding to the recent passage of the No-Confidence motion against the Government, the Prime Minister admitted that the APNU+AFC Parliamentarians did not understand what is required in the Constitution to overthrow a Government.

“We didn’t understand what it takes to remove a Government, whether it should be a confidence motion or No Confidence Motion, whether it should 33 votes or 32 votes, whether it should be a simple majority or an absolute majority and we sit there as the fathers and mothers of the national assembly and we didn’t know this,” the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister was at the time delivering the feature address at the fourth Annual Child Rights and Independence workshop on Thursday at the Pegasus Hotel, Kingston Georgetown.

“Our country recently was nearly plunged into an unprecedented situation, because even we, who sit in Parliament didn’t understand the constitution,” the Prime Minister said.

A section of the gathering at the workshop

He explained that the programme will take the form of town hall type meetings in all schools in the ten administrative regions with selected students to debate the constitution and apply the constitution in real life situations.

“Because that is the most precious doctrine, the doctrine for which all your rights flow and if you don’t understand that, you will be denied access to those rights,” the Prime Minister said.

According to Mr Nagamootoo, students can trade ideas on what they think about the constitution and how they believe the constitution should be reformed or changed.

The Prime Minister said the Government is currently engaging the Court to interpret what the No Confidence motion means and that is why is it important that the constitutional education programme is introduced at the secondary school level.

The Caribbean Court of Justice is expected to deliver a ruling shortly as to whether the No Confidence Motion was validly passed against the Government in the National Assembly on December 21st last year.

Meanwhile, Chairperson for the Rights of the Child Commission, Aleema Nasir said protection, education and empowerment are the Commission’s three main focus areas for children in Guyana.

The annual workshop engages the discussions with youth ambassadors on what more can be done to ensure the safety and protection of every child.

Nasir said, “Such exposure and stimulation is critical to the crafting and cultivation of a Guyanese society, conscious of where it has come from and where it should be going in order to truly realize and activate the true Meaning of independence”.

The Commission has partnered with the Guyana Police Force, the Ministry of Education and the Health Ministry as part of its movement to recognize and implement child rights protection.

The introduction of youth leadership roles in secondary schools across the country have been refreshed and reinforced.

Valerie Garrido-Lowe, Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs said much more needs to be made to protect the rights of children and the government is committed to working on partnerships to ensure this.

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