The National Assembly is to meet on Friday, April 26. Notices with the Order Paper for the sitting have been received by Members of Parliament.
This will be the second sitting of the House to be held since the passage of the No Confidence motion on December 21, 2018.
It is only when the MPs on the government benches are properly seated and the sitting is officially declared in session by the Speaker then the picture will be clear as to who has vacated their seats and who hasn’t.
Interestingly, appearing on the Order Paper there are two items in the name of the Minister of State and the Minister of Business.
Whether the Ministers themselves will rise when called upon by the Speaker to present the statement and the report respectively or, whether other government MPs will rise to do so due to the two ministers’ absence, is left to be seen on the day of the sitting.
There are several important bills that will be introduced for first reading they include;
Interception of Communications (Amendment) bill 2019
Procurement (Amendment) bill 2019
Customs and Trade Single Window System bill 2019
Customs (Amendment of schedules) bill 2019
National Accreditation Council (Amendment) bill 2019
National Accreditation Council Act 2 2004 (validation) bill 2019. In addition, there are several Reports to be presented for adoption. Whether these bills will be proceeded with while the CCJ ruling remains pending will be seen during the sitting of the Assembly.
The PPP/C has long indicated that its MPs will not be participating in the National Assembly until such time when the CCJ rules on the validation of the NCM.
In the circumstances, since the parliamentary struggle for the PPP/C is a ‘No Go’ until such time that the CCJ rules, the extra-parliamentary struggle assumes greater significance.
The Guyanese people should not be made to punish by being subjected to hearing the views exclusively of those from the government benches who will speak to those bills.
And though this heavy dose of pro-government propaganda will be insufficient, it is anticipated that government’s propaganda machine will swing into full gear trumpeting the rusty tune that the parliamentary sitting is a reflection of government being back to business as usual.
Following passage of the bills, it is to be expected that government-sponsored propagandists and spin doctors will be hard at work in their efforts to contaminate the environment with their politically biased views on the bills much to the disadvantage of the parliamentary opposition.
In this regard, it is equally important for the nation to hear the views of the political opposition on the bills slated for debate.
Opposition MPs should be mobilized to take the extra-parliamentary Information highway with a view to informing the populace of their political and technical views on each bill or the suite of bills.
The Guyanese electorate expects no less.
Democracy must not lose further ground in Guyana.
The role of PPP/C legislators in Guyana is to hold the APNU+AFC to account in or out of parliament more so, in the prevailing context where constitutional democracy is on trial and where the court has become the principal arena of the struggle to maintain the rule of law as well as the civil and political rights of the Guyanese people.
Clement J. Rohee