By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Speaker of the National Assembly Raphael Trotman says like every citizen, he too is feeling some tension as to what is going happen in this year’s budget – its presentation and debates – and is certain that Members of Parliament will find a solution.
The National Budget will be presented by Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh on Monday, March 24. Trotman has had the opportunity of sitting through two budget debates as Speaker of the House, where the combined opposition managed to significantly reduce the estimates, while at the same time starving several government agencies of millions of dollars.
“The nation must have a budget, that’s my belief and as Speaker I will do everything I can to ensure that we can produce a budget that the nation can accept,” Trotman assured.
The recent ruling by Chief Justice Ian Chang, which stated that the Opposition cannot reduce the estimates as was done in the last two years but can either approve or disapprove funding; is a ruling that has many persons on the edge of their seats to see what will be the Opposition’s strategy this year.
What is clear however, it that there will be disagreement in some areas as it relates to Government’s proposed spending measures, with the Opposition already crying a lack of consultation between themselves and the administration.
According to Trotman “despite the naysayers and those who feel that we will crumple and collapse, I am positive that there are sufficient persons with sufficient levels of maturity that can put Guyana first.”
The Speaker explained that all members of the House are elected officials and as such have an equal right to be there. He said no one should feel they are better than the other, while understanding that each have their constituency to represent and as such should be given a chance to do so.
“So in going about our business I think we should look for good examples,” Trotman said, adding that “I always remember persons like Winston Murray, am I’m reading the speeches of Forbes Burnham and Dr. Jagan and the way they interacted with each other, even though people felt that they were sworn enemies and hated each other there was a level of respect and even admiration that comes out when you see them and the way they speak to each other.”
Speaker Trotman is urging members of Parliament to always to always ensure that they be competitive and not destructive.
He believes that the MPs can put aside ‘petty and sometimes very personal and partisan differences’ and put the nation first.