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Voting on Constitutional bodies, new government ministries deferred, errors cited- opposition

PPP Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira

The contentious issue of new government ministries not being Gazetted is expected to be fulfilled tomorrow, while there are to be significant adjustments to truly reflect the new power given to constitutional agencies.

This is according to Opposition Chief Whip Gail Texeria who said that the government has acknowledged their mistake and is committed to setting these issues right. As it stands, the House will not be voting on the new government agencies since technically, they do not exist because they were not Gazetted as part of official records.

Texeria in a press conference updating the public on the two burning issues said that the government undertook to have the agencies Gazetted tomorrow Tuesday August 25.  She explained that when it came to those agencies, scrutiny of those new government agencies will be done, but “formal” voting will  be deferred until the order to legalize those bodies are done.

On the other hand, the government less than a month ago passed the Constitutional (Amendment) Act and the Fiscal Management and Accountability (Amendment) Act to give greater independence to constitutional agencies such as the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and the Director of Public Prosecution’s office. However the 2015 budget, according to the opposition does not  reflect this new power and the government has also undertaken to place these agencies in the right locations within the budget.

The Chief Whip explained that a decision was taken further to set the bodies under new sections within the budget. “We have agreed that these constitutional bodies will be under new sections… so that all constitutional bodies are now reflected in the amendments…”

She continued that, “Right now you have a mix up of some constitutional bodies in the statuary bodies section, some are on local contribution and some under ministries.  She said, “All these have to be cleaned up and segregated.”

In addition, movement of these constitutional bodies to new sections of the budget will lead to aggregated totals for the different agencies to be removed and thus require the aggregated totals to be amended. All these will have to be done within the three days as the opposition said that government is adamant that the days for scrutinizing the estimates will not be extended. 

Another possibility is that if these matters are not addressed in a timely matter, the passage of the budget could be further delayed.