By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Alliance for Change (AFC) says it plans to raise issues relating to parliamentary democracy and cooperation between the legislator and executive when it meets with its Surinamese Parliamentary Counterparts who are set to arrive in Guyana today, Thursday October 24.
Suriname’s House Speaker Dr. Jennifer Geerlings-Simons along with an 11 member delegation will commence a three day visit to Guyana beginning today.
According to AFC’s Parliamentarian Trevor Williams, “Among the matters that the AFC plans to raise when they meet are: Parliamentary democracy including full independence of the national assembly and cooperation between the legislator and executive to ensure assent to bills by the President passed by the House.”
Williams added that it would be an honour to have the members of Suriname’s Parliament in Guyana. He views this visit as a move to strengthen the already existing cordial relationship the two countries enjoy.
“Like Guyana Suriname has a unicameral legislator and the AFC is positive that there are many lessons that can be shared,” he added.
Williams went onto note the AFC’s concern over what he says is the Government’s attempt to ‘subvert the National Assembly and reduce it to a non-effective toothless organism that will be used as a rubber stamp at its convenience.”
In this regard, he recalled his party’s demand for a Legal Counsel at Parliament to compliment the work of the staff. “The Government has blatantly refused to appoint such a person leaving the clerk to depend on the services of the Attorney General Chambers; this has caused much frustration for the 10th Parliament” he said, adding that “this is a malicious act by the Government to maintain dominance.”
Dr. Geerlings-Simons visit is in response to an invitation extended by Speaker of the National Assembly, Raphael Trotman.
According to a press release from the Parliament Office of Guyana, Trotman’s invitation is in keeping with the commitment made by the previous Speaker of the National Assembly, Hari Narayen Ramkarran. Trotman has emphasized that the nature of the visit should go beyond “merely meeting” with key members of the Government and the Opposition, and posited that it should formally establish a Guyana-Suriname Association to enhance relations between the two parliaments and peoples.
Among the packed agenda planned for the visit are courtesy calls on President Donald Ramotar, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, Ministers of Government, Leader of the Opposition David Granger and the Leader of the Alliance for Change (AFC) Khemraj Ramjattan.
In addition, the delegation will also meet Members of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Committee, Members of the Parliamentary Management Committee (PMC) and Members of the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Foreign Relations.