Members of Parliament (MPs) for the Alliance for Change (AFC), were part of the National Assembly walkout on September 1, which was triggered by the election of Liberty and Justice Party (LJP) Leader, Lennox Shuman, as Deputy Speaker of the House.
The walkout was done even as billions of dollars were being considered for allocation to several constitutional agencies. Those monies were approved without coalition scrutiny.
Further, the walkout was done even as the AFC promised to keep the Irfaan Ali administration in check.
Asked by the Guyana Standard, today, if walking out of the House and thereby not scrutinizing billions of dollars was the step in the right direction, party executives remained adamant that “it was the right thing to do”.
“That was the right step we made, and a lot people will be critical…About getting off on the wrong foot, but we felt it an opportune moment, especially in the context of (ruling party) not wanting a Deputy Speaker, who comes from the main Parliamentary Opposition, and in view of the fact that we had some illegalities and irregularities [in the elections process]. Those were the two reasons why we walked out,” AFC Leader, Khemraj Ramjattan told the Guyana Standard during a virtual press conference today.
AFC General Secretary and former Public Infrastructure Minister, David Patterson said that he was sworn in as MP virtually and was not given a copy of the documents until seven hours after the commencement of the sitting.
“I would have assumed my colleagues would have received the package when they went in at 10 o’clock in the morning…I, having being sworn in virtually, didn’t get it until 8 o’clock in the night – seven hours after…My colleague, Ronald Cox, who was in Region One, I don’t think he has seen the estimates – a hundred and forty-six pages of details. He hasn’t even seen it as yet…So we were sworn in at 10 o’clock in the morning and at 11:30, someone starts to present to you $11.2 billion to constitutional agencies. No details were given to us before,” he said.
Patterson noted that when the coalition was in office, adequate time was extended to the Opposition and same should be done now.