By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – While the APNU+AFC parliamentary majority on Tuesday August 25, passed the 2015 Budget for the Ministry of Communities, the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) Opposition is demanding that the government implement the regulations of the Fiscal Transfers Act.
The demand was made after Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan answered a question with respect to the 2015 Budget indicating that the Fiscal Transfers Act was not implemented.
According to Bulkan, the government is awaiting holding of Local Government Elections (LGE) before it goes ahead with the implementation. He cited the erosion and decay of local government bodies since LGE was not held in almost two decades, noting that the local government Bodies lack the capacity for such implementation.
In this regard, Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira astutely rejected the notion. She says that the Bill was passed since 2014 hence there is no reason why it should not have been implemented.
“The Honourable Member cannot capriciously decide not to implement it because of his own opinions…therefore we are demanding that the Minister implement the Fiscal transfers act,” said Teixeira.
She noted that the law does not offer exceptions for opinions on the issue. Meanwhile, PPP MP Colin Croal stated that there is an existing formula that can be used to implement the Fiscal Transfers Act; however that was not utilized in the preparation of the Budget.’
There was also a brief spat between several members of the House after Bulkan was unable to state the names of the Ten Regional Executive Officers.
PPP MP Juan Edghill vociferously objected to the Minister asking to provide the names in writing at a later date, indicating that as Communities Minister those names should come easy.
“The people of Guyana need to know who are the people engaged,” said Edghill.
The PPP is alleging that the some of the Regional Executive Officers (REOs) were APNU+AFC election candidates. Governance Minister Raphael Trotman quickly rose to the defence of his colleague asserting that no Government Minister will be bullied into answering questions.
The approval of the Budget also saw the support of a subvention for the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI). The state-company was budgeted for a total of $212M subvention.