“Teething” differences emerge in National Development Strategy debate

Kaieteur News
December 8, 2006

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There appears to be major differences to have Parliament accept the National Development Strategy (NDS), which was crafted by several members of civil society.

Yesterday, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Ralph Ramkarran, adjourned Parliament to allow the People's National Congress Reform-One Guyana (PNCR-1G) more time to study submissions by Prime Minister Samuel Hinds to amend sections of a Motion tabled by frontbencher Winston Murray.

Kaieteur News understands that the Prime Minister is seeking to steer the NDS away from the Special Select Parliamentary Committee, in addition to other changes to the wording of the Motion.

Murray is seeking to have the National Assembly accept the NDS and the measures and policies contained in the document as an overarching strategy for pursuing the economic transformation of Guyana .

The PNCR-1G MP also wants the National Assembly to direct that the NDS be placed before a Special Select Parliamentary Committee to commence consultations immediately with the private sector, wider civil society and other stakeholders.

Murray believes that a representative cross sectional group should be established and with support from a suitably resourced secretariat with research expertise, the NDS should be updated at the earliest date.

The Motion seeks to have the National Assembly direct the cross sectional group to report periodically to the Special Select Parliamentary Committee, and that the final updated NDS document be submitted to a Special Select Parliamentary Committee to make recommendations to the National Assembly for consideration and adoption.

Additionally, the Motion seeks to have the National Assembly Sectoral Committee on Economic Services monitor the policies and implementation of the NDS.

The National Assembly should have debated the Motion, but Murray stated that the Prime Minister had only yesterday submitted amendments to the Motion and this required some time for him to hold discussions with party members.

He requested that Parliament defer the Motion for a week, but PPP/C MP, Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee said that the government was seeking consensus on the matter and asked that Parliament be suspended for fifteen minutes for members to consider the Prime Minister's submission.

The speaker granted this request. “We want to find some pathway for a resolution before we support the suspension,” Minister Rohee stated.

However, upon resumption of the National Assembly, Minister Rohee acceded to Murray 's request and Parliament was adjourned until next Thursday.