People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Member of Parliament (MP) Gail Teixeira has once again registered concerns over what she describes as the high-handed behaviour of the government, this time accusing them of ramrodding large and complex legislations through the National Assembly.
During a recent press conference, Teixeira lashed out at government for straying from the established parliamentary practices of taking complex Bills laid in the National Assembly to the Parliamentary Select Committee for further scrutiny.
She noted that this action by the governing MPs completely undermines parliamentary democracy by rushing to pass bills in the National Assembly without having the extensive scrutiny by all stakeholders beforehand.
Traditionally, large and complex Bills go to the Parliamentary Select Committees for further review and debate. According to Teixeira however, of recent, government has been refusing to allow the Bills to go to Parliamentary Select Committees.
“The demand for large and complex bills going to Parliamentary Select Committees are still being denied by the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) parliamentary representatives,” she stated.
Teixeira said the most recent example was the passage of the Insurance Bill on June 30. She posited that the Insurance Bill required further examination in a select committee since there were many issues in its contents.
However, government passed the Insurance Bill despite petitions from the Opposition that the bill ought not to be rushed and instead sent to a select committee.
With several large and complex Bills upcoming for debate in the National Assembly, Teixeira is worried that those too will be rushed through the House.
These Bills are the Wildlife Conservation and Management Bill 2016, the Telecommunications Bill 2016 and the Public Utilities Commission Bill 2016.
“There has been no indication that the three bills pending on the order paper will be heading for Parliamentary Select Committee as they ought to, due to size and complexity… it is unthinkable in any parliamentary democracy that such bills will not be subjected to scrutiny in Parliamentary Select Committee,” Teixeira asserted.
The Opposition Chief Whip said it is rather unfortunate that government continues to undermine parliamentary democracy. She however pledged that the PPP/C will continue to speak out against such actions.
Admitting that there is not much the Opposition parliamentarians can do to get government to adhere to parliamentary procedures, Teixeira said the PPP/C will continue to use public forums to inform Guyanese of the transgressions of their government.