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發表於 2018-6-9 05:15:10 | 顯示全部樓層 |閱讀模式
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By Kiana WilburgIt was a grueling three days for Members of Parliament as the Opposition had about three days to scrutinize the Estimates of the 2015 Budget which saw them going past 3:00 a.m. on each day.Opposition Leader, Bharrat JagdeoBut in the wee hours of yesterday, the House passed the amended Appropriation Bill which now authorizes the coalition government to spend some $181.7B – exclusive of the statutory sum of about $39B.Statutory money is not inspected or requires the approval of the House. This sum has first claim on monies in the Consolidated Fund. Statutory money includes the public debt and salaries for Judges and the Ombudsman. Any other money that does not fall into this category has to be appropriated for by the National Assembly.With its majority hold in the House, the government was successful in approving the $181.7B which it budgeted for. The only amendment made, was to the format of arriving at the said total in the Appropriation Bill.The opposition during the Committee of Supply grilled the government at length on most line items, once permitted by House Speaker, Dr. Barton Scotland.But in some cases, questions posed by Opposition members did not deal with line items in the Budget Estimates as they were supposed to. Instead, some questions dealt with matters raised in the budget speech presented to the House by Finance Minister, Winston Jordan.In some instances, it appeared that former Minister of Tourism, Irfaan Ali annoyed Jordan. Ali persistently asked about the monies which were given to the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) and where he got it from prior to the budget being brought to the House.Finance Minister, Winston JordanBut on each occasion Ali stood to ask the question, the Finance Minister,Wholesale Hockey Jerseys 2018, said, “No matter how you go ‘round and come ‘round, I am dealing with line items. Not that.” This occurred during the consideration of the Estimates for the Ministry of Finance.At no point did Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo who is a former Finance Minister, question Jordan.But even through the mudslinging, the political opposition and the APNU+AFC government were able to work together and come to an agreement on the approval of monies for the Constitutional entities.Both sides had reached an agreement that the monies allocated for each Constitutional entity would be passed with no questions asked.These agencies included the Parliament Office, the Office of the Auditor General, Supreme Court, Office of the Ombudsman, Judicial Service Commission, Human Rights Commission and Guyana Elections Commission.The Finance Minister then laid a motion in the House for amendments to be moved to the estimates of the expenditure for the financial year 2015 in the Committee of Supply regarding the treatment of all constitutional agencies within the estimates. The motion was passed and the subventions for the Constitutional agencies which totaled $5,116, 254,000 were approved.The Amended Appropriation Bill was subsequently read before the National Assembly and passed.Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge, in an invited comment, said that he was elated with the work done and added that the amended Appropriation Bill is a product of agreements reached by both sides.He expressed that government and the opposition worked on and agreed to a format for the Bill and this is a reflection of the maturity of the members in working together in the interest of the people.Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo immediately gave a sigh of relief and said, “I am happy that this is over. I knew that the House was competent to get the job done in three days and everyone worked really hard. Yes, we are disappointed with the behaviour of the Parliamentarians in the Opposition’s camp during the debate, but in the end we got the job done.”Outside the Chambers of the National Assembly was the Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, who was perturbed by Jordan’s refusal to answer questions posed by one of his members.“What we just witnessed is the worst act of accountability that I have seen on the part of a Finance Minister ever in this country. He hid behind several rules of the National Assembly and refused to deal with the questions posed to him by members of our side.”Jagdeo added, “He refused to speak on the $5M he transferred to GRDB prior to the budget and the $3.8B that was diverted to GuySuCo. We asked him where this money came from and he refused to say if it came from the Consolidated Fund or the Contingency Fund or if it was from somewhere else.”The former President then revealed his “conspiracy theory” in this regard.He said that the only reason Jordan could have refused to answer the questions is because he is guilty of spending monies without the approval of Parliament – the same “crime” the government, when in opposition, had accused the former Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh of.“This is money he refuses to account for. He has also refused to answer for where the $23B transfer to the rice industry is located in the Estimates. From our understanding, it is located as a public debt and he does not want to admit that. He has misled us all.”Jagdeo also blasted the government for what he described as the “sole sourcing” of forensic auditors without pursuing public tender. He said that this, along with Jordan’s actions in the House, constitute some of the worst acts of corruption. He promised that he will do everything in his power to expose this to the Guyanese people.The Opposition Leader said that even if he has to get the recording of Jordan’s behaviour and post it online via YouTube, he will do so.Jagdeo said that he is intent on holding the feet of the government to the fire as a means of ensuring accountability. He has essentially vowed to be the “watchdog” of the people in and out of Parliament.Members of the National Assembly will meet once more today to approve other Bills and make arrangements for the House to enter into a period of recess.
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