GEORGETOWN, CMC :
Fresh attempts by Guyana’s minority government to pass a spending bill have again been thwarted, as the opposition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and Alliance for Change (AFC) joined forces to use their one-seat majority in parliament to block the measure.
In February, Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh withdrew a supplementary money bill, Financial Paper No. 9, after the APNU’s shadow finance minister, Carl Greenidge, called on him to resubmit it with more details in keeping with the Financial Management and Accountability Act.
When the bill returned to the National Assembly on Thursday, but Greenidge asked the Speaker of the National Assembly to have it removed from the Order Paper, claiming that the matter had already been debated.
But House Speaker Raphael Trotman denied his request. “In the circumstances and for the reasons set out above I rule that Financial Paper No. 9 is properly before the National Assembly for its approval or disapproval,” he said in his ruling.
The measure was then voted down by the combined APNU-AFC opposition forces in the single-chamber legislature. Singh told journalists the ‘no’ vote was a clear sign the two opposition parties had reneged on their promise to restore the 20.9 billion Guyana dollars (102.8 million US dollars) slashed from the budget by way of supplementary budgets.
“They went to the people of Guyana and said these cuts can be restored, all that the government needs to bring is a supplementary financial paper to restore the items, and we will reconsider these items - that is in direct contradiction to the argument that Mr Greenidge is now making, that if the house has ruled on a matter then the house cannot reconsider the matter,” Singh said.