PPPC, govt trade sparks as consideration of estimates for constitutional bodies kicks off

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 October 2016, 15:49 by Denis Chabrol

The Opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic on Thursday railed against the coalition-led government for cutting the budget to the constitutional body of Parliament Office by GYD$200 million.

The Finance Minister, Winston Jordan has proposed to the House that GYD$1, 519,506 billion be allocated to the Parliament Office based on revenue projections and loans.

“At the end of the day when we put all the requests that are being made by agencies that has to be matched against the revenue available hat e would have developed and our capacity to borrow,” said Jordan, a trained economist and former Budget Director, to kick off consideration of estimates for the constitutional agencies.

However, Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira offered to help government find the “fiscal space” in financing the operations of constitutional agencies. “What were the considerations within the national development priorities? The hon member talks about fiscal space but I can suggest where we can find the fiscal space,” she said.

Teixeira noted that when her PPPC was voted out of office in the May 11, 2015 general and regional elections, it left behind US$780 million in the coffers. In addition, she said GYD$1.17 billion was awarded to BK International, GYD$5 billion to Demerara Distillers Limited and US$16 million to the Surinamese beverage company, RUDISIA.

After the PPPC’s Irfaan Ali asked whether the House did not have a right to examine the minister’s figures to ensure that he is acting in the best interest of the agency, the Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo accused the PPP of violating  Guyana’s constitution and relevant laws by attempting to debate the provisions to score cheap political propaganda.

“It cannot be that we are just bringing these things here and the Finance Minister does not have to  respond,” said Ali.

“…the PPP comes with the sanctimonious posture that they are defending the constitutional agencies,” said Nagamootoo who promised to deal with the PPP extensively at a later time.

In the end, the 33 member government benches approved the sum that has been allocated to the Parliament Office.