Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland on Friday refused Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira permission to ask Minister of State Joseph Harmon a series of questions about the Guyana People’s Militia.
“Your question which is a question without notice to the minister doesn’t qualify for presentation,” Scotland told Teixeira who at the time was in the middle of presenting her preamble.
The Speaker denied the parliamentarian’s request on the grounds that her questions did not comply with Standing Orders 18(b) which specify that only questions that are urgent and important or relate to the business of the day shall be permitted as oral questions without notice.
Teixeira had sought to establish what practices were being used for the recruitment of persons into the Militia which was re-activated with effect from December 1, 2015.
Specifically, Teixeira wanted to know the criteria and methodology of recruitment of persons into the People’s Militia; the number of persons who have been recruited into the People’s Militia in the last two years, the means by which these persons been recruitment whether via public advertisement in the media, in the social media, or any other means.
Further she sought to ask for the numbers of persons by regions who have been recruited, the type and length of training that the recruits are being offered as well as whether recruits are receiving stipends, salaries or other benefits.
Noting that the reactivation was announced on January 3, 2016 by the then Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Brigadier Mark Phillips, Teixeira said that Phillips had stated that the militia hoped to recruit an additional 1500 persons as reservists while Harmon had informed the House in response to questions that the Guyana People’s Militia was as in the past situated within the Guyana Defence Force as the 2nd Infantry Battalion Reserve and its budget was included within the GDF budget and administration.
President David Granger had also announced that the ‘reserve force’ is being re-built in every administrative region.
“The Militia is an essential arm of the regional system. Each regional capital town will have its own unit, eventually, to enable it to respond more promptly to render assistance to residents in the event of emergencies,” the Commander-in-Chief announced at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Annual Officers Conference.