Government’s Chief Whip Gail Teixeira and main opposition APNU executive member Joseph Harmon will today decide on a date for talks on amendments to the Broadcasting (Amendment) Bill before it is read for a second time.
Teixeira had recommended a “sit down over cigarettes” by the two to discuss areas of the principal law that the opposition coalition is seeking to amend before the bill comes up again.
“I will be seeing her (Teixeira) …at the [Anti-Money Laundering] committee meeting and we will discuss and set a date when we will have the discussions,” Harmon said yesterday, when asked for an update.
The amendment bill is being piloted by Harmon, who explained that he was looking forward to meeting Teixeira as he needs clarity about why none of the recommendations made by a Joint Committee, established in 2001 to analyse Guyana’s broadcast legislation, were incorporated in the current law. The amendments contained in the bill, Harmon informed, were crafted from the said “ignored” recommendations that the Joint Committee had made.
The amendments focus on the independence and autonomy of the Broadcast Authority and reduction of powers by the minister interfering with its day to day work. It also seeks to have the Authority’s members appointed by the National Assembly.
Teixeira, in requesting that she and Harmon meet to go over the bill and discuss the amendments, said that given her participation in the Joint Committee, she would be better placed to explain why the law was structured the way it was and work out amicable amendments with the opposition.