Expired customs order to be ‘re-gazetted’ -Luncheon
Stabroek News
November 8, 2003

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The government is to re-publish the expired Customs order which sparked a walkout from Parliament by the PNCR last month.

Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon made the announcement during his weekly press briefing at the Office of the President on Thursday.

He said that the Minister of Finance, Saisnarine Kowlessar had a number of matters to conclude among which was the ‘re-gazetting’ of the Order within the stipulated time frame. The order, he said, would be identical to the one already placed in the gazette.

The PNCR at a recent press conference had said that more than a week had elapsed since Kowlessar had conceded that the Customs Order was expired, but nothing had been done. PNCR member, Stanley Ming said that those steps were still to be taken to address the situation while an order, which was deemed null and void, remained in force.

In a statement last week Tuesday, Kowlessar, had admitted that the order had been expired at the time of the sitting, but had promised that the necessary steps would have been taken to remedy the situation.

The order was advertised in the Official Gazette of September 1 and transmitted to the Clerk of the National Assembly on September 5 along with the motion in compliance with the section 9 of the Customs Act. In his statement, Kowlessar said that it was only after the conclusion of the debate that he was told that the Order and the motion did not get to the Clerk until October 10. They had apparently become lost in the transmission.

At a press conference on Monday, the PPP had described the PNCR’s walkout from the National Assembly as “theatrics” and had queried why the party had not made an effort to address the issue before the sitting of Parliament.

At its press conference on Thursday, the PNCR said its parliamentarian Winston Murray had attempted to get a copy of Kowlessar’s correspondence to the National Assembly on the matter prior to the sitting but was told by a parliamentary official that the correspondence was private and therefore could not be released. Ming said that as a result Murray was left with no choice but to raise the issue at the sitting at which the order was considered.