[www.inewsguyana.com] – Opposition Parliamentarians on Monday evening (February 3) walked out of the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Special Select Committee, after government insisted that the Private Sector Commission (PSC) attend the meeting in an observer capacity.
According to a press statement from the Ministry of Finance, the PSC had submitted a letter to the sub-committee last month requesting, as stakeholders, to observe the meetings.
It was noted that Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh moved the motion to have the PSC attend the meetings but the Opposition, after objecting strenuously to the PSC being allowed to attend all meetings of the committee, walked out of the meeting in an attempt to avoid voting on the matter.
It was noted that Minister Singh maintains Government’s position that the private sector of Guyana has a legitimate interest in the timely passage of the legislation given the grave consequences that would devolve on Guyana’s economy should Parliament fail to enact the amendments.
“This is a most unfortunate development, and reflects yet another attempt by the Opposition to frustrate the timely passage of this bill,” said the Minister in a statement.
“Their refusal to allow the PSC to observe the committee’s proceedings reflects the fact that they are unwilling to be unmasked and have revealed to the world at large the blatant delay tactics they have been attempting in frustrating the work of the committee. ”
Minister Singh further noted that government members of the committee emphasize that they would have absolutely no objection to the PSC attending and observing the proceedings of the committee.
“In contrast, the Opposition clearly and persistently objected to the PSC being permitted to attend and observe all of the meetings of the committee.”
The Finance Minister further added, “They attempted to evade and contort the matter and, eventually, when the Chairperson of the committee attempted to put to the committee the specific matter of whether the PSC should be permitted to attend all meetings of the committee in an observer capacity, the Opposition walked out.”
This is the second incident where the Opposition has moved to muzzle the PSC in Parliament.
On November 6, 2013, the combined Opposition voted down the motion for the reading of the PSC petition on the Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (Amendment) Bill prior to its debate in the National Assembly.
The petition represented 17 private sector groups which sought to urge Members of Parliament to recognize the damage to the private sector, local economy and the citizens of Guyana if the legislature failed to enact the bill.