Update: Local Government Bills struck off Order Paper, as Gov’t remains mum in Nat’l Assembly

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APNU Parliamentarian Basil Williams moved a motion to suspend the standing orders of the Order Paper, in terms of changing its sequence, so as to bring forward to the four Local Government Bills.

This motion was granted by the Speaker, following a vote by Parliamentarians, with 32 votes from the Opposition and 31 from Government Parliamentarians.

However, the motion was met by strong opposition from the government, as they remained silent when called upon to commence the debate on the Fiscal Transfers Bill.

The Local Government Minister, Ganga Persaud was scheduled to start the debate, and when called upon by Speaker Trotman, he remained mum.

When the Speaker asked Prime Minister Hinds to indicate government’s position on the Bill and if they will debate, he too remained silent.

“The Speaker cannot compel a Minister to proceed with a debate…I have invited to the Minister and Prime Minister to indicate government’s intention, but I have received silence in response…it is difficult to interpret that formally,” Speaker Trotman said.

Before arriving at the four local government Bills, the House was scheduled to debate the Hydro-Electric Power (Amendment) Bill 2013and the Guarantee of Loans (Public Corporations and Companies) Act, which is linked to the Amaila Falls Project.

In opposing the motion by Williams, Government Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira told the House that the move by the Opposition is unacceptable, as it disturbs and violates government’s rights to bring its matter in the order it wants.

Meanwhile, following a recess, the Four Local Government Bills was read by the Clerk for the second time, but was met with total silence.

In this regard, the Speaker reiterated that since he cannot compel the Minister to proceed with the Bill, and if no date is given for the next debate, the Bills automatically comes off the order paper until another date is given.

Following the Speaker’s ruling, Teixeira indicated that Government intends to debate the four  Bills tomorrow, Friday July 19. The House is currently debating, the Hydro Electric Power [Amendment] Bill.

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