Bipartisan committee on constitutional reform to meet later today; Opposition unimpressed

Former Attorney General Anil Nandlall and current AG Basil Williams
Former Attorney General Anil Nandlall and current AG Basil Williams

Members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Constitutional Reform are expected to meet later today (Friday), its third meeting for the year, DPI has said.

One of the pillars of the Alliance For Chance (AFC) and the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Coalition was the promise of constitutional reform. However, more than three years later, that promise is not close to being delivered, with the AFC’s leadership revealing that other matters are of greater “priority.”

The bipartisan committee was formed in 2015. The committee comprises Chairman, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams, Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, Minister of Education, Dr.  Nicolette Henry, Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman and Minister of Public Service, Dr. Rupert Roopnarine.

Opposition MPs on the committee include Anil Nandlall, Priya Manickchand, Dr. Frank Anthony and Adrian Anamayah.

The bill was sent to the committee to be examined as it is the body responsible for dealing with constitutional matters.

The Opposition had raised concerns about the Prime Minister leading the constitutional reform process as they had aruged that the PM does not have the clout to negotiate or make any commitments to the Opposition. Meetings have been minimal, with the last one hosted in March.

The bill was published on July 26, 2017, and was introduced in the National Assembly on July 27, 2017, and read for the first time.

During his 2019 Budget presentation in the National Assembly, Jordan had announced that the bi-partisan committee on constitutional reform will complete its scrutiny of the constitutional reform bill.

Jordan had also revealed that funds have been allocated for the Prime Minister to conduct a survey and consultation in collaboration with the University of Guyana, in order to raise awareness of the reform process and also to gauge the population’s understanding of the issue.

During his contribution to Budget 2019 in the National Assembly today, Opposition MP Nandlall said that he was not very optimistic that anything positive will come out of the process today as it is planned to create an impression that Govt is indeed taking action on this issue.

The APNU/AFC Government has faced severe heat since it took office for not treating the issue of constitutional reform seriously as their leaders had promised.




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