By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Government has announced a packed agenda for the December 12 sitting of the National Assembly among which is the reintroduction of three Bills that were previously defeated.
Among the bills to be returned is the disputed Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Amendment Bill which was defeated in the House on November 7 by a majority opposition vote. The opposition had claimed then that the amendments were incomplete.
Government also plans to reintroduce the Firearms (Amendment) Bill in the name of Attorney General (AG) Anil Nandlall. The Bill was defeated in the House on March 14 by a majority apposition vote. The Opposition was at the time maintaining its stance not to support any piece of legislation piloted by Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee, who they had passed a motion of no-confidence in 2012.
Next Thursday’s sitting will also see the return of the Evidence Amendment Bill which was also piloted by Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee and crushed on June 13 by the opposition.
The bill will be returned in the name of AG Nandlall. Meanwhile, plans are also afoot to introduce the Summary Jurisdiction Procedure Bill which makes provisions for traffic offenders to post fines in Georgetown regardless of what part of the country they reside.
According to Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon, the December 12 sitting will also see the second reading of the Procurement (Amendment) Bill and the House will also consider the Appropriation Bills.
No return of Local Government Amendment Bill
Dr. Luncheon told reporters on Wednesday (December 4) that the Local Government Bill which did not receive presidential assent will not be returned to the House.
He said the opposition continues to insist and claim that decisions arrived at the parliamentary level are binding on the executive, however the Administration is adamant that Parliament cannot govern by the way of motions and resolutions.
He further stated that the Bills which received parliamentary approval must be purely constitutional before receiving presidential assent. In this regard Dr. Luncheon went at length to reiterate reasons for President Donald Ramotar’s rejection of the Local Government Amendment Bill, which was among four Bills sent for approval, three of which did.
The Cabinet Secretary said the rejection of the Bill illustrates why parliamentary approval cannot suffice for making laws and is not automatically binding on the Executive.
He claimed the Opposition had amended the Bill to insert the Local Government Commission wherever the Minister was mentioned adding that what they failed to recognize was that the Local Government Commission was a creature of the constitution whose powers are outlined therein.
He said by amending the Bill the way the opposition did, they resorted to create new powers which the Commission could not have.
“How could the president conceivably assent to a Bill, conferring powers to a body that powers were not made for?” Dr. Luncheon questioned.
He said a correspondence have been sent to the Speaker of the National Assembly not to submit the [returned] Bill for consideration along with the President’s explanation for non-assent.