With the results of the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections gazetted by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and Parliamentarians named, Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs, says he is fully prepared for the convening of the 12th Parliament.
When contacted on Wednesday, Isaacs could not give an exact date as to when sittings of Parliament will resume. However, he said that Cabinet has to give him the greenlight and he is hoping to be notified by this weekend.
“Yes, I am prepared. I have received the declaration from the Guyana Elections Commission, role calling, mailing lists and so on. I have prepared the register. I just met with the Army, the Police, the Ministry of Health discussing the convening of Parliament and subsequent sittings. [I have met] with Protocol Officers of the Office of the President, Foreign Affairs… And [today] at 10 o’ clock we would be at the [Arthur Chung] Conference Centre. We have a next meeting on Friday. But I am well prepared,” the National Assembly Clerk said.
There has been no Parliament since May 23, 2019 mainly because of the successful passage of a no-confidence motion against the APNU/AFC Administration on December 21, 2018.
But although the motion was passed, the APNU/AFC Government refused to demit office, and brought a slew of legal challenges to the validity of the motion. The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) later affirmed the no-confidence motion.
During that time, only members on the governing side attended Parliamentary sittings.
Members of the Opposition PPP/C had committed to not attending sittings only until after elections were held, as the successful passage of the motion required that elections be held three months thereafter on March 21, 2019.
But GECOM failed to hold General and Regional Elections within the constitutionally mandated period, mainly because it was not prepared for the snap elections. Parliament was later dissolved on December 30, 2019, paving the way for the March 2, 2020 elections.
The Elections results are as follows: PPP/C will hold a majority in the National Assembly with 33 seats; the APNU/AFC Coalition have 31 seats, while the joinder parties –A New and United Guyana (ANUG), Liberty and Justice Party (LJP), and The New Movement (TNM) – will have one seat.
Once Parliament reconvenes, its Members will select a Speaker of the National Assembly. The last Speaker was Dr. Barton Scotland. High on the agenda will be the passage of the National Budget since the last one was passed in December 2018 in the tune of $267.1 billion.
The APNU/AFC Government was unable to pass any budget due to its caretaker status following the passage of the no-confidence motion.
As a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Parliament will now be held at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, according to Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira.