The main Parliamentary Opposition’s apparent proclivity to rely solely on the government to provide it with information is unreasonable and smacks of laziness, says Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall.

The AG, during his recent, televised “Issues in the News” programme, opined that the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) needs to be more proactive in sourcing information, adding that it is not the responsibility of the government to “spoon-feed” opposition parliamentarians.

Recently, the APNU+AFC called on the government to release the list of all government-funded contract awards. Nandlall, however, noted that it is the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) that awards contracts, not the government. He added that the information being sought is easily accessible via the NPTAB’s website.

“Contracts are awarded by a lawful, statutory tribunal called the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) – a statutory body separate and independent of Central Government. That entity by law must make all contracts public, and they do! They post them on a website…All these people got to do is go there and get it, but they want to come to the Parliament and we must fetch that information and bring it to them. I don’t believe that is our responsibility. You have to pull your weight,” Nandlall said.

The AG was quick to highlight the frequency in which opposition benches are vacant whenever critical bills are being debated in the House. He accused APNU+AFC parliamentarians of squandering their opportunities to grill government ministers, to go on television or on Facebook to label the government as “control freak-ists”.

“They make no attempt to get any information other than asking for it in the National Assembly, and they expect Ministers must go there to spoon-feed them information. We sign agreements of all types on a daily basis within the government structure. These agreements are public documents; they are posted on websites, they are posted at the Ministries’ websites, and the departmental websites.

They can write or they can call and they can get copies. These people don’t even make an attempt to get these documents, and then they run around the country and say we are control freaks; that we don’t want to divulge information. They expect us to fetch bags and bags of documents and hand them to them in the parliament. That is the level of laziness that I am speaking about,” Nandlall stressed.





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