Thursday’s second sitting of the 11th Parliament will see two pieces of legislation which were at the centre of a titanic standoff between the government and the opposition in 2012: the anti-money laundering bill and another to slash the benefits of former presidents.
The now opposition PPP/C is unlikely to be in the house when the APNU+AFC versions of the Former Presidents (Benefits and other Facilities) Bill 2015 and the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (Amendment) Bill 2015 are tabled. These bills are likely to be similar to the ones circulated by the opposition in the 10th Parliament. President Donald Ramotar had refused to assent to the bill tapering the former presidents benefits which had been passed by APNU and AFC which together had a one-seat majority in the 10th parliament. The PPP/C’s version of the anti-money laundering bill failed to gain the support of APNU and the AFC because both of those groups wanted more robust legislation and arrangements to ensure the prosecution of those engaged in money-laundering. At the committee level, APNU and the AFC had circulated their own version of the bill which did not find favour with the PPP/C
Other matters for Thursday’s sitting include the laying of the Report of the Auditor General on the Public Accounts of Guyana and the Accounts of Ministries/Departments/Regions for the year ended December 31st, 2013.
Also for tabling are the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2015 which will amend the Third Schedule relating to Article 222A of the Constitution to provide financial autonomy to certain entities. This had been another bill that the opposition had sought to have the Donald Ramotar administration pass to no avail. Down also for first reading are the Fiscal Management and Accountability (Amendment) Bill and the Local Government (Amendment) Bill 2015 which aims to amend the Local Government Act. In the 10th parliament, the then opposition APNU and AFC had been attempting to have the Local Government Ministry divested of certain powers as it relates to local government.
Thursday’s sitting will also see the customary motion for the approval of government’s policy in the President’s address at the first sitting of the assembly on June 10th.
The PPP/C has not yet decided when it will take up its 32 seats in parliament. Analysts say that the party also needs to work out what its hierarchy will be in the House. This would require the settlement of leadership arrangements within the party first.