By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) Modernization Project has not found favor with the combined opposition and that was demonstrated with a vote of non – approval when its funding was being considered by the House late Thursday night (April 10).
The two opposition parties (APNU/AFC) joined forces and voted against the $6.5B allocated to the project in the 2014 budget.
The vote against the project also affected the funding for other aviation services since it all fell under the same category and according to the recent ruling by the Chief Justice, the Opposition does not have the power to cut the budget, as was done over the last two years but can only approve or disapprove.
$185M for hinterland/coastal airstrips and $50M for civil aviation equipment was also voted against in the process.
It remains the hope of the Opposition that the two sides could reach consensus on delinking the items that are disapproved from the ones which are not being objected to.
Earlier, the two sides voted against funding for the Specialty Hospital and Amerindian development. These votes also affected other programmes and projects.
The APNU failed however to garner the support of the AFC when voting against funding for the Amaila Falls access road, where if disapproved, funding for several major infrastructure which serves the public daily would have also been starved.
What is important to note is that these votes of disapproval are only proposals and when members sit in plenary, a final decision will be made.
On Wednesday, April 09 the Speaker announced that the Opposition can only propose amendments after which it would be up to the government to accept or reject the proposal.
The proposals will be examined in a sub – committee that the Speaker suggested be established to consider the proposed amendments to the Budget. The committee comprises four members of the opposition and three members of the government and is chaired by the Speaker.