Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira has voiced dissatisfaction with the number of sittings of the National Assembly since the APNU+AFC government took office in 2015, saying that the government’s legislative agenda has proven to be “extraordinarily thin,” while her party is being bullied with regards to its rights.
Speaking at a press conference at the Office of the Leader of the Opposition last Saturday, Teixeira said that between June 10, 2015, and August 4, 2017, there were 70 sittings, almost half of which dealt with matters related to the budget.
According to Teixeira, the opposition should have had about 13 opposition/private members’ days in that period but only got six.
She said that the “activity of the Parliament is on a very low level and the production of bills and the legislative agenda of the government is extraordinarily thin…almost 50% of the entire time of Parliament, is convened basically regarding budgetary matters….”
Teixeira added that the two sides cannot even reach an agreement on a day for the opposition unless it is a day when government can have all 33 of its parliamentarians present. The current government holds a one-seat majority in the 65-member National Assembly. “…As far as we are concerned, it is their day or no day,” she said.
Asked whether she had raised her concerns with her colleagues on the government side of the House, Teixeira said she had but they were met with “bullyism.”
She added that every motion the PPP/C brings to the House is “radically edited” by the Speaker Dr Barton Scotland. She said while the Standing Orders are very clear that there are reasons why a notice will be declared inadmissible, such as being offensive, libelous or irrelevant, the Speaker has given himself an editorial role in the process.
She further said that the PPP/C is prepared to make public a full status report of its performance in Parliament as well as that of the government.