Guyana’s President Donald Ramotar left Guyana on Monday for a Caricom-Mexico meeting without signing into law, the Budget Appropriations Act. The Act was sent to the President for his assent on Friday morning.
President Ramotar’s decision not to sign the bill into law may be as a result of the budget being reduced by $38 Billion following disapprovals to several of the estimates for government programmes and agencies by the Opposition parties which hold the majority in the National Assembly. Several of those disapprovals are expected to directly affect the Office of the President.
The reduced budget was passed but the Government which supported its passage is upset with the big reduction to the estimates. By not signing the Bill into law, the President could run the government and state agencies into financial problems since there would be no approved funding in law that they could spend.
Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon on Wednesday said the administration is looking at a number of other options to keep the government working. He did not rule out the possibility of the President signing the bill into law upon his return, but neither did he rule out the possibility of early elections being called to address the current make up of the Guyana parliament, where the combined opposition parties hold the majority.
“The Appropriations Act as amended to reflect the decisions made during the Committee of Supply by the Majoritorian Opposition, that Act where the Opposition was concerned did not provide approval in ten instances. Those instances, one was a current expenditure and nine involved capital expenditure”, Luncheon said.
He said a stranglehold for the major programme at the Office of the President has not been approved.
Luncheon said the issue continues to engage the cabinet.