Clerk of the National Assembly Sherlock Isaacs has confirmed that three of the five bills passed during last week’s sitting of the National Assembly were sent off to the Attorney General’s (AG’s) Chambers yesterday morning but said they had not yet been returned as he had hoped.
Speaking to Stabroek News yesterday afternoon, Isaacs said he could not say when the Hydro Electric Power (Amendment) Bill, the Municipal and District Councils Bill, and the Fiscal Transfers Bill would be returned since “once sent to the AG’s Chambers they are out of my hands.”
On Tuesday though, he was optimistic that they would be speedily returned, primarily since the AG’s chambers had played an integral role in preparing the final document.
Meanwhile, the Local Government (Amendment) Bill and the Local Government Commission Bill, also passed during last week’s sitting, are yet to be sent to the AG’s Chambers to receive their assent certificates.
It should be noted that these were the most contentious of the four local government bills passed last week.
Isaacs said yesterday that the Local Government (Amendment) Bill is still being reviewed by the Chief Parliamentary Counsel (CPC), while the assent copy of the Local Government Commission Bill is still at the National Printers and is slated to be picked up today. He said that once the assent copy comes back from the Printers, it will then be sent to the AG’s office to receive its assent certificate.
Also, once the CPC has completed his review of the Local Government (Amendment) Bill, the document will be sent to the National Printers for an assent copy to be produced before being sent to the AG’s Chambers to receive its assent certificate. Once all of the bills receive their assent certificates, they will be sent to President Donald Ramotar for him to affix his imprimatur. If the president signs the bills they will come into force, and, in the case of the local government bills, pave the way for local government elections to take place.
The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is responsible for operationalising the mechanisms needed to stage these elections, however the body cannot begin this process unless the president signs the local government acts into law and the Local Government Minister identifies a date for the holding of the polls. Local government elections have not been held since 1994.