Opposition’s performance in Parliament disappointing

Opposition’s performance in Parliament disappointing – says Christopher Ram

OCTOBER 10, 2012 |Kaieteur News  – tabled only 1 of 21 bills –

                                   Chartered Accountant Christopher Ram

The performance of the Opposition in the National Assembly is coming under fire, with questions being asked whether it was necessary for a nine-week break. The recess ends today and the Parliament is set to reconvene later this month.

According to financial commentator, Christopher Ram, the work by the Alliance For Change (AFC) and the 10-party coalition A Partnership For National Unity (APNU) during the first session of the 10th Parliament left much to be desired. 

“Of 21 bills presented, 20 of them were from the government, while the other was from APNU’s Volda Lawrence…and it had to do mainly with regards to the Speaker – nothing of priority.

“October 10th (today) marks the end of the first recess of the National Assembly, and as we look back at the performance of the legislative agenda, it is very striking… it is disappointing and almost depressing,” Ram opined.

“Five of the bills were financial papers and nine were amendments with only four substantives. Only eight were made into law. Of four substantive bills, only one made it into law and that contained a mere three sections. What has made the matter more depressing is that the opposition parties had a splendid opportunity to introduce its own bills as it has the combined majority.

We even have the Speaker of the House coming from the Opposition. When you look at the performance of the two political parties, you have to feel disappointed. I was for one… on the day the elections results came out… I was one that was looking for some tsunamic changes in Guyana.”

Ram, an accountant and lawyer, who has served on a number of bodies and has been critical of a number of government policies and projects, was highly critical of the AFC and APNU.

“It is clear that there is a gap between what the people say and what the politicians say and achieve,” Ram asserted.

   APNU’s Leader David Granger

He pointed out that APNU’s Leader, Brigadier (ret.) David Granger, during an interview on the ‘Plain Talk’ television programme had said that the coalition was working to prepare a legislative agenda for the National Assembly.
“Now they are saying they need international help in the drafting. I find that quite appalling. I think we have some pretty good people in drafting… people with second degrees in drafting.

The opposition, by saying that, is showing scant respect for the expertise of our local people.”
According to Ram, while the Standing Orders in the National Assembly make it okay for a recess to be taken, it should not be seen as compulsory.
“In light of the many issues, including corruption allegations and manifestos of the two opposition parties, it would have been a good idea to use the time to reduce the recess of nine weeks. Every other word is about corruption. Why have we not seen the tabling of any anti-corruption bills? And a proper Access To Information bill? These are all important things that the opposition – in light of the fact that they have a combined majority – should have jumped on and capitalized on during this time.”

                                                           Khemraj Ramjattan of he AFC ( right)

“Issues like local government elections and even the state of the Auditor General’s office should also be priorities. We have legislation for local government reforms for 15 years now pending. What is happening to the Parliamentarians? Some of them have been there for 10 to 15 to 20 years now…what have they achieved? Why can’t we have local government elections while the legislation is being worked on? The Linden shootings…three people…should not have died…there is need for the reforms and elections,” Ram stated emphatically.

“The National Assembly should also be examining the establishment of a Law Reform Committee, which should be tasked with liaising with Guyanese to change legislation that needs changing,” Ram said.
The AFC and APNU hold a combined 33 seats, a one-seat advantage in the National Assembly.

—  Guyanese Online Post #1970

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