The Government is coming under more criticism for its “lack of consultation” on three Amendment Bills that are being taken to the National Assembly today for tabling and passage.
The Private sector commission in a statement on Wednesday, warned the administration about moving ahead in the future with legislation while not hosting consultations with stakeholders.
The PSC is particularly concerned about the amendments to the Anti-money Laundering Bill and being left in the dark about those amendments.
“There is growing concern regarding consultation and we would hope that this latest example will be the last piece of legislation done in this manner. Vital pieces of legislation should and must be brought to the attention of affected stakeholders from civil society and the private sector so that Article 13 of the Constitution is implemented”, the PSC said.
According to the private sector body, it “is as concerned as the Government is that the country should be compliant with international requirements but is equally concerned that all law-abiding stakeholders should be protected.”
And on Wednesday evening, the Guyana Human Rights Association also fired off at the government for the move to suspend the Standing Orders of the Parliament to rush the three bills through the house.
The human rights body focused specifically on the Terrorism Bill and said the government cannot provide an over 100 page piece of legislation to Members of Parliament two days before heading to the National Assembly with that same legislation for passage.
The GHRA said it “is shocked by and condemns the intention of the Government to suspend Parliamentary Standing Orders in order to rush the passage of the Anti-Terrorism and Terrorist-Related Activities Bill 2015. This affront to Parliament is compounded by allowing less than two days for Parliamentarians to analyse a Bill of 107 pages. “
It said rushing Bills through Parliament is only acceptable in evident emergencies where seriously adverse consequences are predictable and the Bill in question meets neither of these tests.
It said that in the case of the Anti-Terrorism Act, the GHRA, along with others was invited by the Attorney-General’s Chambers to comment on the Draft Bill in July 2015.
According to the body, a GHRA submission which benefitted from local and overseas expertise recommending well over thirty amendments was submitted to the AG but “not one of the recommendations from the GHRA submission has merited inclusion in the draft Bill to be debated”.