The People’s Progressive Party is preparing itself to reject any move to block a debate on the estimates tabled in the National Assembly for Constitutional Agencies.
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo said he has reason to believe that the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Barton Scotland, will support the Government in disallowing the debate on the $10 Billion allocation. He said any move in this direction will be met with major expressions of disapproval from the opposition party.
A Motion from the Parliamentary Opposition is expected to be tabled urging the debate.
Mr. Jagdeo said the PPP has some legitimate concerns to raise on the estimates. He told reporters that the government seems to be acting contrary to legislation which they have passed
“If the Speaker and the government try to shield the Minister from him giving explanations for him acting contrary to the legislation that they themselves passed, then you are going to see major expressions of disapproval from our side,” Jagdeo said.
This threat came just two weeks after the opposition held placards and heckled in the Parliament during an address by President David Granger.
Mr. Jagdeo shied away from answering when asked if there is likely to be a repeat of this type of behavior.
“Come to parliament and you’ll see. I am not saying yes or no. I am saying come to parliament and you’ll see.”
In 2016, when the estimates for Constitutional agencies were presented by the Finance Minister, an agreement made in the Business Subcommittee did not allow for a debate on the budget proposals.
The Finance Minister merely made his remarks and recommendations on the proposed estimates for the constitutional agencies and commissions with the Speaker only allowing replies to the remarks.
Jagdeo said opposition MPs are not prepared to go to the National Assembly and be controlled in a narrow framework, where the government hides behind Parliamentary rules to avoid open debate on critical issues.
The PPP is insisting on a full debate on the allocations for the Constitutional agencies.