By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The National Assembly on Thursday, June 19 voted to send the Wildlife Import and Export Bill 2014 to a Parliamentary Select Committee for further consideration following its second reading in the House by Natural Resources and Environment Minister, Robert Persaud.
Despite pleas from the Minister for the Bill to be passed and later amended in a bid to fix loop holes and enhance it, the combined parliamentary opposition insisted and used their majority to send to Bill to the Committee.
Persaud had pointed out that the Bill would have completed the puzzle in the management, conservation and extraction of wildlife for trade.
“The absence of this Bill has found Guyana vulnerable on two counts: firstly to manage facilities and support the involvement in trade, to ensure its activities don’t affect government’s determination, to ensure proper management… And secondl,y on the external front in keeping with requirements for international trade,” the Minister said.
Among sentiments emanating from the Opposition benches [Khemraj Ramjattan and Rupert Roopnarine], was that the passage of the Bill was being rushed and that there was some sinister motive to such a move.
In response, Persaud condemned such statements, adding that it was an insult on the technical officers who were involved in the crafting of the legislation.
The Minister said the accusations were wild and reckless. He said there is nothing to hide but argued that there was nothing fundamentally wrong with the Bill. He said the Opposition has failed to put forward a single proposal to make the Bill better in wake of the criticism.
He maintained that the legislation was needed to properly manage the import and export of wildlife and update laws that are archaic.
“It would make it easier to do business and will allow proper, humane and sustainable utilization of wildlife.” He summarized that the Bill was too important to quibble or be divided on since the livelihood of several persons stand to be affected.