Gov’t, Opposition reach amicable agreement on motion calling for adjustment of estimates

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By Kurt Campbell

parliament[www.inewsguyana.com] – Following an almost two hour delay to the commencement of the official business of the House, Shadow Finance Minister Carl Greenidge has announced that he will withdraw his motion calling on Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh to withdraw his estimates so as to make adjustment to the format.

Greenidge told the House on Wednesday, April 09 that this will only be done once the Minister moves the relevant motion to reflect in the national estimates, the finances of all entities charged with protecting rights in lump sums, particularly the judiciary.

Greenidge had presented his motion to the Speaker on Tuesday, April 08 at the close of seven days of budget debate. His motion was seconded by Alliance For Change (AFC), Leader Khemraj Ramjattan.

Speaker of the House Raphael Trotman at the beginning of the session stated that he had received a letter from Attorney General Anil Nandlall which addressed the government’s concerns.

The Speaker said that following the meeting, all sides came to the decision and expressed his appreciation in this regard, noting that it was an historic day.

Greenidge explained that entities, including the Ethnic Relations Commission, Human Rights Commission, Women and Gender Equality Commission, Indigenous Peoples Commission, the Auditor General Office and the Judiciary, all charged with protecting rights, were listed as budget agencies and received lump sum funds from the government except the judiciary.

He said this has in essence limited the judiciary and affected its independence.

Meanwhile, Dr. Singh committed to moving a motion at the appropriate time in the Committee of Supply to bring the estimates of the judiciary in line with the other entities.

Earlier, Government Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira told this online news service (www.inewsguyana.com) that they are in total disagreement with the motion.

“It is totally unprecedented and unconstitutional, but the ball is in the Speaker’s court,” Teixeira said.

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