PNCR boycott hurts Parliament – Luncheon
July 8, 2004
“Parliamentary sittings have been negatively influenced by the walkout of the Opposition PNCR. A conscious parliamentary fiction of being on ‘leave’ allows the PNCR Opposition MPs to avoid sittings, picket parliament during sittings and attend overseas conferences at parliament’s expense and to be as fully remunerated as parliamentarians who are not on leave.”
This is the view of the Administration as expressed by Head of the Presidential Secretariat and Cabinet Secretary Dr Roger Luncheon at a media briefing today.
In March this year, the PNCR staged yet another boycott of the National Assembly stating that its non-participation was because of Home Affairs Minister Ronald Gajraj’s alleged involvement in a death squad.
The PNCR called for an inquiry. The President on May 14 announced a three-man Presidential Commission of Inquiry and the Commission was appointed on July 2, 2004.
”The expectations are that the Opposition PNCR Parliamentarians would concede that their Parliamentary boycott was meaningless and should end particularly now in the context of assumption to Office of the members of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry and the motion to consider the report of the Disciplined Forces Commission,” he said.
Parliament will meet again tomorrow when a number of important issues will be addressed, including the presentation of two Bills in the Education Sector and a motion on the Report of the Disciplined Forces Commission.
Dr Luncheon announced that the 14:00 hrs session would convene at the Ocean View Convention Centre, Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown, today.
The Prime Minister and Acting Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Samuel Hinds will move the motion on the Report of the Disciplined Forces Commission.
The Commission was required to present within six months of its establishment, the findings, recommendations and implementation timetable to the National Assembly. The report was due on March 18, 2004. This timeline was not met and an extension was granted the Commission to May 1, 2004. It was delivered on May 6 to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Ralph Ramkarran.
An interim report on its Inquiry into the Guyana Police Force was also required within three months.
The Commission completed its work since last December, and submitted its report. The interim report was laid in the National Assembly since December 11, 2003.
This session would also see the introduction of two Bills for the Education Sector: The Technical and Vocational Education and Training Bill and the National Accreditation Council Bill.
Dr. Luncheon said the former “provides for the promotion of Technical and Vocational Education and Training through the establishment of the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training which would be responsible for delivering the functions of the Council.”
The National Accreditation Council Bill provides for the “establishment of the National Accreditation Council and vests in that body the power to grant recognition to awards obtained in Guyana and elsewhere, to determine the equivalent of all awards for the purpose of establishing acceptable standards within the Caribbean Community.
Dr. Luncheon noted that both private and public institutions would be subjected to the Council.
He noted that this Council is particularly relevant with the pending implementation of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy and will accommodate the free movement of skills. He noted that this might have implications for brain drain.
However, Government is looking for some “ingenious response with the Commonwealth and the International Financial Institutions to address the issue.”