A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) said that there was never any agreement among the Opposition groups to exclude the Parliamentary Management Committee from those whose composition they are attempting to change through motions seeking to amend the Standing Orders.
This is according to Joseph Harmon who was speaking at a press conference held at the Office of the Leader of the Opposition yesterday.
Speaker of the National Assembly, Raphael Trotman had said on Wednesday that there was an agreement that the Parliamentary Manage-ment Committee (PMC) would not be changed to reflect an Opposition majority given its peculiar circumstances. Trotman had pointed out on Wednesday 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. Harmon however said differently. “I sit on the Committee of Selection and there has been no agreement, none whatsoever, that we will agree not to interfere with the composition of any committee. There was a statement made by the Government that in view of the legal action which was filed in the court, that they were proceeding with the business of these committees with the proviso that if the courts were to [rule on it] then they would make whatever changes are necessary,” said Harmon. When contacted yesterday, Trotman said that he was relaying information that he garnered from his staff and that they indicated to him that there had been an agreement to leave the PMC alone. “I was giving you my understanding. I spoke to the Parliament staff and that was their understanding,” he said. However, he said that notwithstanding his error, APNU ultimately has the right to proceed with its Motion. This Motion, in Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine’s name’ seeking to change the composition of the PMC so that it reflects the reality of an Opposition majority in the Parliament goes straight to the Standing Orders Committee for consideration today.