House Foreign Relations Committee to meet on Guyana-Venezuela border controversy

Last Updated on Monday, 11 January 2021, 11:04 by Denis Chabrol

The Public Accounts Committee in session.

Guyana’s bipartisan House Foreign Relations Committee will Monday meet to be briefed by government on the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy, despite a brouhaha over the venue.

Minister of Governance and Parliamentary  Affairs, Gail Teixeira said the meeting would go ahead at 1 PM. “We are not rescheduling the meeting. It will go on at 1 pm,” she said.

This was after the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), David Patterson said the Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Raphael Trotman informed him that he was willing to reschedule his meeting.

Earlier in the PAC meeting, Mr. Patterson refused to agree with Ms. Teixeira to end the PAC meeting for the sanitising of the Chamber of the National Assembly for it to be the venue of the Foreign Relations Committee.

The Governance Minister cited logistics and the need for COVID-19 social distancing as reasons for wanting the Foreign Relations Committee to be held in the Chamber.

After the PAC Chairman held rigidly to his position that his comittee meeting would go ahead as scheduled, despite the importance of the border matter,, Ms. Teixeira put a motion for the PAC meeting to end at an appropriate time so that the Chamber could be used for the Foreign Relations Committee meeting.

“I will not put that motion,” Mr Patterson said, prompting Ms. Teixeira and Public Works Minister Juan Edghill to repeatedly demand that the PAC cite the rule that authorizes him to refuse a motion.

Despite repeated requests, Mr. Patterson could not provide the rule also known as the Standing Order.

He, however, got his way and proceeded with the PAC meeting.

Mr. Edghill slammed Mr. Patterson’s refusal as a “high-handed approach of not even entertaining a motion.’

Opposition PAC member, Jermaine Figueria acknowledged that the border controversy was an important issue but said there were other venues such as the Committee Rooms at Parliament Building or the Arthur Chung Conference Centre where the House Foreign Relations Committee could meet.