After a hiatus of several weeks, Parliament is to meet on Thursday for a packed agenda which includes a motion for all Members of the National Assembly to make public their tax returns to the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) over the last 10 years.
According to the Order Paper for the sitting, PPP/C MP Juan Edghill will move a motion whose resolve clause calls for all MPs to make public their returns to the GRA for the last 10 years on or before December 31, 2015. The motion further calls on the government to expeditiously table legislation to give effect to the motion.
The motion comes in the wake of a November 28 statement by former President Bharrat Jagdeo reiterating his call forthe declaration of assets by all members of parliament saying if government acquiesces he will be the first to make public not only his local assets but those held outside Guyana also.
“I am still hopeful that they will agree to my proposal that we go jointly to Parliament to make public the assets of the members of parliament and former president’s etcetera own, especially abroad, with a penalty of five years in prison for lying,” Jagdeo said.
Asked if he was willing to lead the charge, Jagdeo exclaimed, “Of course! Of course! I can’t be calling for it and not willing to be part. Yes, I will!”
Annual returns by MPs and other listed officials are supposed to be made to the Integrity Commission but this body has not functioned for over a decade and there has been no word yet by the APNU+AFC government on the recomposing of the body.
Also down for Thursday’s session is another motion in the name of Edghill seeking the annulment of the controversial salary increases which were awarded to Cabinet ministers and others earlier this year. This motion was supposed to have come up before but was delayed by a postponement of the sitting of the National Assembly.
Given the controversy, the motion is expected to engender fierce debate. The resolve clause urges that the National Assembly annul the orders setting out the various increases for Cabinet ministers and others. The APNU+AFC government has taken much flak over the scale of the increases considering that ministers were only in office for a few months and the small percentage awarded to public servants.
In addition to the tabling of a bill to amend the recently altered money-laundering law, Thursday’s session will also see a question from Edghill on the awarding of contracts by the APNU+AFC government for forensic audits. Edghill is seeking answers on the list of audits, the authority under which they are being performed, terms of reference and documentary evidence of the procurement procedures for them among other information.
The session will also see a motion in the name of Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo calling for unequivocal support from the National Assembly for the action taken by the government in defence of Guyana’s territorial integrity in the wake of Venezuelan aggression.
Several other bills will be tabled including the Coroners (Amendment) Bill 2015 and the Law Reform Commission Bill 2015