Gov’t slashes budgets for Opposition Leader, DPP, Parliament Office – using one-seat House majority

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The proposed budgets of several constitutional agencies for 2016, including the Office of the Opposition Leader, the Parliament Office and the Director of Pubic Prosecutions (DPP) Chambers were yesterday reduced by Government using its one-seat majority in the National Assembly.

Yesterday’s sitting of the National Assembly was the first for this year during which the House considered the Current and Capital Estimates for the 16 constitutional bodies, which were given fiscal autonomy last year.
The budgets proposed by the Office of the Opposition Leader and the Parliament Office were $20,137,000 and $1,395,865,000 respectively.

 

Finance Minister Winston Jordan
Finance Minister Winston Jordan

Finance Minister Winston Jordan recommended that the sums for the two agencies which were combined into one proposal of $1,416,596,000 – be reduced by $42,243,000. The Finance Minister stated that his recommendation was an affordable amount.
However, the Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira asked the Finance Minister to explain the rationale behind the budget cuts of the country’s most important lawmaking body. In response, Jordan cited the Fiscal Management and Accountability (Amendment) Act of 2015, which gives him the power to make recommendations on the proposed sums submitted by the constitutional agencies.
Meanwhile, Teixeira’s colleague parliamentarian, Irfaan Ali, requested the Minister share the relevant documents, studies or information that support his contention and conclusion that there was a problem of “affordability”.
Opposition Member, Bishop Juan Edghill further asked whether the Minister in his reductions considered that both the Parliament and Leader of the Opposition Offices would be affected.
In response, the only explanation Jordan opted to give was that the recommended figure was “carefully looked at” by his office. He further stated, “The law just gives me the opportunity to make a recommendation on the lump sum, as to whether they want to argue whether this is right or wrong, that’s the law and I’ve done so. Maybe it has to be improved down the road, but as it exists in the moment. I’ve complied with the law.”

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo

At this point, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo rose to his feet, reiterating that the Finance Minister owed the National Assembly and the people of Guyana a proper explanation as to why the reduction was recommended. He also noted that the previous system used to finance these agencies was more transparent.
“We would’ve been better off with the old system. It was more transparent. We would have been better off because at least then at that time, we would have had explanations line by line as to why cuts were effected and questions would have been posed,” Jagdeo stated.
According to the Opposition Leader, the House, and the country by extension, has not advanced in terms of transparency, adding that the Finance Minister is hiding behind the law and evading questions.
On the other hand, Government parliamentarian Raphael Trotman dismissed Jagdeo’s comments, stating that the country had come full circle in terms of achieving transparency. He pointed out that Government had tried to use the previous system earlier in the evening to consider the estimates, but this route was objected to by the Opposition.
Following more than 30 minutes of heated debate among members of the two sides of the House, the budget estimates for the Parliament Office and the Office of the Opposition Leader were approved in the reduced combined figure of $1,373,759,000.

Meanwhile, the coalition Government also used its one-seat majority during yesterday’s sitting of the House to reduced the proposed budget of the DPP Chambers by a whopping Gy$74M. The DPP Chambers’ budget for the year now stands at Gy$160 million.

Former Attorney General and PPP/C Member of Parliament said the reduction of the DPP Chambers budget is a clear violation of the Law and the Constitution.

14 COMMENTS

  1. History will tell that Guyanese people have made a big mistake and they will have to pay ‘dear’ for that and the question remains, how can people vote for a government that once destroyed this country to noting?

  2. Anand, The PPP threw open the doors to democracy.Everyone had a right to work and make it big. Their problem was the corruption which was similar to the previous PNC dictatorship, and now the same under a disguised PNC government.It’s the culture of our people..to plunder and rob the innocent hard working man. No change, no hope.

  3. I do not support the view that, the budgets propose by these independent bodies cannot, or should not be cut /reduce or alter, after all its just a proposal and the Minister is responsible for the nation finance. What I do agree with is the call by MP Ali and the opposition leader that the minister need to give reasons for these cuts or alteration, and these reasons should be supported by known or provable facts, opinion, studies etc. If the law was not explicit in stating so, I suspected is because the drafters is of the views it will be interpreted by persons with the understanding that it is implied. I think its a common understanding that people need to give reasons for their actions and more so when they are holding public office where these reasons will have to withstand the test of scrutiny.

  4. Guyana is in a very sad situation .What defence is there for the govt to stand by, for their blatant act. Our country is getting worst each day that goes by and citizens are outright frustrated.

  5. My 14-YO daughter is smarter than Jordan. He cannot even justify a simple budget cut. Instead he said that the law gave him the power. That’s not a justification, idiot. How dumb and shameful. Some of these dumb ‘aces’ are in office collecting wages under false pretenses. They are not doing their jobs. They cant account to the public who put them there….or…actually they rigged the elections.

  6. How else do you expect these idiots to pay for all the money Granger promised or the high salary increases? It seems that every time Granger makes a visit he promises a million dollars. Not that I don’t think its needed but these guys are trying to buy over people with money they don’t have. Their priorities are all over the place. Then there is the salary increases. I think all them needs to take economics 101.

  7. PNC and the power hungry AFC using their own scissors to cut their own budget now. MADNESS! MADNESS! and more PNC MADNESS!
    Where are those ambassadors from the ABC’s country?
    I wondered what Steve Surujbally has to say now.
    Where is Chris Ram, Badal, Glenn Lall, Kissoon, D. McKenzie, etc. now? Are they dead?

  8. Guyana state of affairs was predicted by many also by a pastor/preacher/radio host by the name of James David Manning. Pastor manning claimed that the PNC DOES NOT UNDERSTAND THE WORLD!
    Question: How can a dictatorship (PNC) run a country when there is no understanding of business/economics.
    Guyana is really getting a “CHANGE”
    Shame on PNC and all PNC supporters!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. This is an attempt to muzzle the opposition, to kill democracy, and to turn the country into a military dictatorship.

  10. They cut the budget when in opposition and now in government they are cutting lawful allocations to the opposition’s office as well as the parliamentary office. HE, the finance minister is unable to justify or give valid reasons for his actions hiding behind the ”Accountability (Amendment) Act of 2015, which gives him the power to make recommendations on the proposed sums submitted by the constitutional agencies”. That act gives him the power but for decency sake, couldn’t he have given the rationale for this massive cuts? (They raised their salaries though ) WHAT A SQUARE PEG for a finance minister. In fact most if not all the ministries have been filled with square pegs.
    Cutting the budget of the office of the DPP by $74m gives rise for concern for justice to be expedited. Why would any administration want to cut such budget? Is there something more sinister along the way? The dictatorship, not of the masses but the few, the PNCites, has returned PNC STYLE.
    THERE IS MORE TO COME

  11. That is good for them. The PPP government when they were in power neglected their own people. Now you see what The PNC doing you and your people. The only people suffering in Guyana right now are the Indians.

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