Speaker of the National Assembly, Raphael Trotman says that at a Committee of Selection meeting on March 7, there was an agreement that the Parliamentary Management Committee (PMC) would not be among those committees that would be changed to reflect an Opposition majority.
In a comment to Stabroek News yesterday, Trotman pointed out that because of the nature of the PMC and the circumstances leading to its coming into being, this committee was not targeted for change in its composition. The PMC had arisen from the St Lucia Statement of 1998 and was aimed at healing the divisions of the PPP/C and PNC and enabling the latter to return to Parliament.
Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine of the APNU has tabled a motion seeking to change the composition of the PMC so that it reflects the reality of an Opposition majority in the Parliament. Tomorrow this Motion goes straight to the Standing Orders Committee for consideration.
Trotman said that considering the agreement in the March 7 meeting, he was surprised to see the Motion from Dr. Roopnaraine to reconfigure the PMC from five members from each side of the House to five for Opposition and four for Government.
Trotman said that at yesterday’s meeting of the Parliamentary Management Committee held at the Parliament, Government and the Opposition cordially agreed to a number of measures aimed at advancing the work of the House administratively and otherwise.
The Speaker said that the meeting agreed that with the exception of Friday’s sitting, the subsequent sittings will begin at 13:00 hours instead of 14:00 hrs and end at 22:00 hours. This is in a bid to get the business of the sittings done early.
This will be the arrangement for the budget debates following the presentation by the Minister of Finance, and also the examination of the estimates.
According to the Speaker, he made a proposal for the sittings to commence at 10:00 hours. But members of APNU did not agree to this citing their work commitments early in the day.
Yesterday’s meeting also saw the establishment of the Common-wealth Parliamentary Association Guyana Branch which comprises six members of each side of the House. Its President would be the Speaker and two Vice-Presidents in the persons of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.
The meeting also discussed upcoming CPA conferences and events and discussed the Parliament’s participation in these. They discussed specifically an upcoming CPA visit to Jamaica in May.
Trotman also disclosed that the Parliament will be seeking aid from the Canadian Government in terms of learning of how Minority Parliaments operate.
The Speaker urged the members of the PMC to work on drafting a timetable for the business of the Parliament to guide its work into the future. The meeting also looked at security arrangements for the sittings of the National Assembly.