By Sharief Khan
DEFICIENCIES in the functioning of Parliament rose to the fore again as the National Assembly wrapped up sittings for the year.
Amid exchanges of the usual holiday greetings, Mr. Eusi Kwayana of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) highlighted a major drawback.
He said the “lack of proper records of proceedings” was a “severe limitation and drawback” for Members of the Parliament.
Another major irritant for opposition members and most of the Parliamentary Press Corps is the paucity of information offered by government members when questions are raised.
Mrs. Janet Jagan of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) walked out in obvious disgust last week after persistent questions on State expenditure on housing were ignored.
She had sought unsuccessfully to find out what a supplementary provision of $99,326 “to meet increased contribution to Housing Programme” meant. This provision was in addition to $3M voted in the 1987 budget for housing and Mrs. Jagan argued nothing had in fact been done for housing.
At one stage, Speaker Mr. Sase Narain said he hoped more information would be provided in the future. He said even he had difficulty following some of the material before the House at times.
Opposition frustration at the derailing of almost all their motions and moves by the ruling People’s National Congress (PNC) built-in two-thirds majority is also at the root of the disenchantment with the functioning of Parliament.
Kwayana failed to get government support for a petition he recently presented on behalf of a group within the City and surrounding areas calling for a radical alteration of the kerosene distribution system.
He subsequently simply tabled another petition on behalf of about 75 tanners from the Mahaica district calling for immediate drainage and irrigation action for farm lands there.
Mrs. Jagan recently found occasion to remark, “about all this body is useful for is to air certain issues.”
Responding to the expressions of goodwill for the holidays from Prime Minister Mr. Hamilton Green, PPP Leader Dr Cheddi Jagan hoped the new year will see the development of unity and a political solution of the problems
Kwayana also called for “a higher level of patriotism” and said “we need fair and free elections after round-table discussions between the opposition and the political directorate of this country.”
Government’s Latest Attempt at a Housing Project For The Low-Income Group
SPEAKING on an opposition motion on housing in the National Assembly two weeks ago, Parliamentary Secretary Leroy Scotland in his maiden speech told the Assembly, in response to criticisms, that the Government has a well organised housing programme. He referred to self-help activities and said the construction of units is in progress at a number of locations including De Kinderen.
Stabroek News decided to visit De Kinderen to see how things were progressing. It is situated on the West Coast of Demerara, about 12 miles from Vreed-en-Hoop.
Our reporter ascertained that the project was started in June 1986. There are 28 lots for aided self-help and 28 lots for private development. So far, only 4 houses have been completed to the point where habitation is possible.
Those who are supposed to benefit from this venture are mainly soldiers, policemen and members of the People’s Militia, but a teacher and a Guysuco worker are also included.
The project has virtually stagnated because of the slow rate at which materials are supplied from Georgetown.
One main road runs down the middle of the project to houses that are without electricity and potable water which must be obtained from some distance away. Secondly, roads are presumably to be developed in the future.
A supervisor of the Ministry of Housing quickly arrived on the scene and objected to the investigation. He could not understand why a newspaper would be interested in such a project, “What do you want to know?” he asked in a puzzled voice.
National Stadium Still A Dream
Promises to Our Sportsmen Continue to be Just That
THE perennial cry by athletes and sports officials for better sports facilities continues to fall on deaf ears.
However, lofty promises continue to instill hope in the optimist.
Many of these promises have been broken with such regularity that athletes have been left with ugly scars.
Late last year and early this year there was a hullaballoo about the National Stadium.
The former GSC ground was designated the site for this ambitious project, and during the last quarter of ’86 the fence was pulled down and revetment erected.
After the brisk start, hopes were raised by the announcement that the Stadium would have reached the stage where it would have been able to be used for some events by the end of this year.
This has however not come to pass.
The site is now relegated to a virtual pasture, breeding healthy cattle while plans for the stadium continue to look beautiful on blue print.
Athletes and sports officials are now awaiting the announcement of another date when the Stadium will be ready.
When one considers the present economic circumstances and the need for the expenditure of foreign exchange to erect modem facilities in the stadium, the completion date might be farther away than could be envisaged.