No parliamentary oversight of security sector- Ramjattan

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 January 2023, 15:01 by Denis Chabrol

Opposition A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) frontbencher Khemraj Ramjattan bemoaned the lack of parliamentary oversight of the security sector.

“We have not had any meetings of that parliamentary oversight committee,” he told the National Assembly during debate on the 2023 National Budget.

Mr Ramjattan charged that the lack of parliamentary oversight amounts to a violation of Guyana’s constitution and parliamentary standing orders. “Today, they have made that thing dysfunctional so we can’t ask” Police Commissioner Clifton Hicken and other Heads of the Disciplined Services “anything at all.”

Once the Minister of Public Security under the APNU+AFC coalition  administration from 2015 to 2020, he told the House that in contrast the Police Commissioner, Prison Chief, Fire Chief and the Chief-of-Staff  had appeared before that parliamentary sectoral committee to be “cross-examined”

He said a then opposition committee member’s recommendation for countrywide visits to police stations had been accepted and implemented. In contrast, Mr Ramjattan suggested that the Irfaan Ali-led administration was avoiding searching questions. “We have a governance structure in Guyana that wants to avoid and evade,” he said.

The AFC Leader noted that under the coalition, Guyana and the United Kingdom had worked closely on preparing a strategy for maritime safety and security in addition to strengthening the cybersecurity, fire safety, and projected threats such as civil protests linked to perceived unfair distribution of oil and gas proceeds.