Speaker rules opposition has power to cut budget

APRIL 16, 2013 · BY  · 122 COMMENTS

Raphael Trotman

Speaker of the National Assembly Raphael Trotman this afternoon ruled that the National Assembly has the power to amend the budgetary allocations stating that the House cannot be bound by a preliminary ruling of the High Court that stated the contrary.

Trotman, who convened parliament almost an hour after the 2pm scheduled start date, said that if the National Assembly can only approve or disapprove the budget then there is no need to go through the estimates of expenditure as has been argued as this would just be a minute’s work.

The historic ruling, which came as a result of the country entering ‘uncharted’ waters following the PPP/C’s failing to get the majority in the House following the 2011 election, was greeted with  desk thumping from members of the Opposition while those on the Government side sat with stony faces.          

The Speaker said the motion by AFC’s leader Khemraj Ramjattan, which proposes a $35B cut from the $208B budget, was therefore properly before the House. He had heard almost five hours of arguments for and against the motion last night.

According to Trotman following the amendments, Finance Minister Ashni Singh has two options: accept the amendments in the estimates report that the Government has rejected the amendments and see it as a vote of no confidence in the administration.

The Government had strongly relied on last year’s preliminary ruling by the acting Chief Justice Ian Chang that the National Assembly had a right to pass the budget or reject it. But Trotman said there is no compulsion or duty on the House to accept any ruling by the High Court.
He said that National Assembly has the powers to amend any bill that comes to the House.

Opposition Leader David Granger described the ruling as a “landmark ruling” and said that the opposition parties are satisfied with it.  Ramjattan expressed the hope that the government will accept the ruling and not “hustle across to the High Court.”

Prime Minister Sam Hinds said that the budget is the best for the country and the Government stands by it. He however added that the government respects the ruling.

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  • de castro  On 04/17/2013 at 8:28 am

    Who has the ultimate power ….parliament or courts.
    I would side with parliament….democratically elected reprsentatives.

    Charles 1st in English history where this was tested comes to mind.

    KING claimed his power came from GOD
    CROMWELL (elected representative) claimed his power came from the people.

    The poor king lost his head (literally) for blasphemy…
    After signing the kings death warrant Cromwell lost his marbles…

    We can but learn from the mistakes of past by not repeating them.

    I will love to read the “constitution of Guyana” after independence
    26th May 1966.

    Kamptan PS UK has no written constitution.

  • Cyril Balkaran  On 04/18/2013 at 8:04 am

    Kamptan, The model of the Unwritten Constitutions is a model for the class of Countries that consider themselves Evolved and highly developed Nations where the Class rule is in place. I mean look at Japan, China, UK, USA, EU, Australia et al and see whether this Model can be applied to a third world classless Country where people who have not evolved as their Counterparts in the First world must be held Accountable for their words and deeds. So you capyure them or call them to Marlborough House in London and tell them that before I free you I want a written Constitution with minimum Gurantees. So Britain became the Architect of the Written Model of Constitutions and so 50,60,70 years after Freedom was attained these Political Leaders of the third world countries continue with the Written Constitutional forms of Governance. This methodoly of governance did not prevent some derailments here and there over the last 100 years, by Politicians who felt otherwise. The Strongman rules with a GUN and not by any written Constitutions. Rule Britannia rule. This was the preindependence cry in Guyana and not any written Constitution in Marlborough Houes. Dr Fenton Ramsahoye is still alive and is in UWI and can be reached for comments on the Written Constitutional Rewards for Third World Countries.

  • Cyril Balkaran  On 04/18/2013 at 8:20 am

    The 38 Billion cut in the Budjet will affect who or which class of people in Guyana. Courts or no courts, the Parliament is Supreme. The uncharted Parliamentary Events are for the history books and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association must take note. The speaker has given a tainted ruling to show the powers that be who he is. The country can go to hell. The rationale of such hugh cuts is not a case for the one Majority Opposition Benches! The People have lost while those who want the power they imagine they possess have won a taintad victory. The speaker continues to guide the Parliament as he sees fit. No need to challenge any cuts in Court. Run the country with the available funds. There is no need for any No Confidence Vote either because Ramotar will never yield power to the political cabal that is in the opposition benches. Continue to destroy the country and the budget and see what kind of Progress will reach you in the Parliament! Your children and grand children will hold you accountable for their failed Standard of Living!

  • de castro  On 04/18/2013 at 9:25 am

    Osbourne Lord Chancellor minister of finance has screwed-up
    Big time by his austerity measures…forcing UKPLC into an everlasting
    Recession…he failed to “ease back on his cuts” in his last budget..
    the media will soon attack him for his “stupidity” but he will keep
    his job as he is Cameron’s buddy from Eaton..not unlike the BLAIR BROWN partnership…now Blair has publicly admitted that Brown failed
    where he had succeeded ! Lies unfold…
    Guyana parliament must get on with developments regardless
    ….move forward….not stagnate.
    Guyana has had growth for over a decade so it must be doing
    something right…and averaging over 4 % year after year.
    Congratulations to the Guyana decision makers..regardless
    of political affiliations…
    Would love to know how to contact DrFenton Ramsahoye for his enlightment
    of the subject.
    thanks for the suggestions.

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