Alliance for Change (AFC) Member of Parliament, Ricky Ramsaroop recently chided the PPP/C Government over the non-functioning parliamentary sectorial committee on natural resources.
While delivering his speech during the AFC’s press conference on Friday, Ramsaroop stated that “as a sitting Member of Parliament, I cannot over-emphasize the absurdity of having the natural resources sectoral committee in parliament not functioning.”
For readers who may not be familiar with this standing committee, its sole function is to examine all policies as well as the administration for the sector to determine whether there is compliance with the principles of good governance.
Ramsaroop was not the only member of the opposition to call attention to the committee’s stagnancy. At the most recent press conference held by the Office of the Leader of the Opposition, PNCR member, Mervyn Williams shared similar sentiments as he blasted the government for the lack of parliamentary oversight of the country’s natural resources. He said, “It is evident that natural resources have grown in its importance to this country yet we do not see the natural resources sectoral committee of the parliament meeting to discuss these issues.”
Further to that, Williams lamented that the committee has the power to summon ministers of government and heads of agencies to discuss issues regarding Guyana’s natural resources. He said, “So even if the People’s Progressive Party does not lay before the National Assembly, an important document for discussion and debate, that committee can summon the relevant Heads of Department before it to get answers on behalf of the people of Guyana.”
Currently, the committee is chaired by Natural Resources Minister, Vickram Bharrat and its Vice Chair is opposition member of Parliament, Dawn Hastings-Williams. The rest of the committee members are Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn and Members of Parliament, Vincent Henry, Catherine A. Hughes, Anand Persaud, Faizal M. Jaffarally and Lee Williams.
The government is yet to make an official comment on the foregoing criticisms.