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|Parliamentary opposition tables motions which are palpably unconstitutional – AG|
|Monday, 27 August 2012 21:26|
ATTORNEY General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall has reiterated that since the commencement of the Tenth Parliament, the joint parliamentary opposition has tabled motions which offend statutory provisions and the constitution.
“The parliamentary opposition tables motions which are palpably unconstitutional,” he stated during the television programme ‘The Factor’, aired on Channel 28.
An example of one such case was the motion that sought a review of the National Industrial and Commercial investments Limited (NICIL) with the resolve clause which is seeking to have the entity’s accounts subjected to an audit by a private auditor.
“The Constitution of Guyana, which is the supreme law of the land, reposes in the auditor general the sole and exclusive responsibility of audits in respect of state company operations, state entities, and government controlled bodies…NICIL is one such body,” Minister Nandlall said.
He explained that for the parliament, in a motion, to resolve and make a decision to say that NICIL must be audited by a private accountant, is a violation of that constitutional function which resides that responsibility exclusively with the auditor general.
The AG stated that the joint opposition does not appreciate the responsibilities which reside upon them as a majority grouping in the parliament, hence the type of dereliction of duty being seen.
“That’s what they are…dereliction of duty…you have a motion which seeks clearly to reverse the pensions of the past president…which was presented to the parliament…when the argument unfolded and it was pointed out to them that it is absolutely unconstitutional for parliament to review its own legislation…they have to take it to the court for them (the court) to rule,” Minister Nandlall explained.
The Court in Guyana’s Westminster Constitutional structure in which the separation of power is a fundamental principle and concept of the judiciary, has always been assigned a particular type of responsibility, that is to examine and scrutinise the functions of the other two branches (Executive and Legislative) of government to keep them in check, he said.
“That has always been the role of the court…whoever advanced the argument that the court cannot review a ruling made by parliament does not understand basic constitutional law,” Minister Nandlall said.
He added that while this is only one example where the opposition tabled motions that clashed with the constitution, there are several factors that can account for the conduct of the joint parliamentary opposition.
“They have created an expectation to their constituency which is not grounded in reality, which is once they have the majority, things will change…when the realisation has dawned upon them that it is not as simplistic as that…they have become desperate and all manner of mechanisms are being utilized, whether they can achieve the objective or not,” Minister Nandlall said.
It is only during the debates that the joint parliamentary opposition realises that these things cannot be changed by motions, he said.
“There was a motion calling for the Finance Minister to produce a host of documents in relation to NICIL by a certain date in June…that motion was debated in July…seven or eight members (opposition) spoke on the motion…not one of them addressed the issue of the date… so that the motion had died a natural death even before it was debated,” Minister Nandlall said.
He added that while training is always important in any field of endeavour, persons were elected by the people of the country to represent their interests competently.
“The people were never told when these people were canvassing themselves that they didn’t understand parliamentary procedures…you cannot go into parliament then learn…if you are aspiring to be a parliamentarian you must learn the basics first,” Minister Nandlall asserted.
He believes that there is no excuse for the type of mistakes that are being made by the opposition.
A motion is a mechanism which is available to the Members of Parliament to discuss any given issue, and it concludes in a decision by the National Assembly.
Any motion emanating from the opposition benches must satisfy certain requirements to which the Clerk of the National Assembly, in conjunction with the Speaker, would examine the motion to ensure that it does not collide with the Constitution or any statutory provision in the country’s laws.
|Last Updated on Monday, 27 August 2012 21:28|
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