says its Parliamentarians are subjected to a constant battle to have their right to a Private Members Day upheld
Following is the full text of a press-statement issued today from the Office of the Opposition Leader, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo
Parliamentary democracy is grounded on the principle of the separation of powers between the legislature and the executive. The role of a parliamentary opposition to hold the government accountable and to have their day in the legislature is a fundamental premise guarded in democratic parliaments.
In this the 17 months and 44 sittings of the 11th Parliament of Guyana, the PPPC Parliamentary Opposition has been able to have only four (4) Private Members’ Days or what is more popularly known as “Opposition Days” and all after much controversy and battles to actually have these days. These were December 12th, 2015, January 14th, 2016, May 14th, 2016 and August 4th 2016.
In accordance with the Standing Orders, at every fourth sitting of the National Assembly, Private Members’ Business takes precedence. Constitutional provisions also provide for the manner in which the calculation of sittings is done. Therefore, the November 4th 2016 sitting is in our calculation a Private Members Day. The Order Paper circulated on the night of the October 27th, 2016 gave such precedence to the Parliamentary Opposition Business. There was no Government Business on the Order Paper.
To our surprise, the Parliament Office circulated a Supplementary Order Paper on the night of November 1, 2016, which included a motion on President Granger’s most recent address to the National Assembly with a suspension motion approved by the Speaker to allow it to be debated at the November 4th sitting.
The Government Chief Whip has asserted that this is a government day and not a Private Members Day. If the latter is so which we dispute vigorously based on the Standing Orders and the constitution, the Government should be ashamed to have one item alone which required a suspension motion as it did not have the required 6 days notice.
One again, the PPPC Parliamentarians are being subjected to the constant battle to have its right to a Private Members Day upheld.