2001 Legislation

The National Assembly was extremely inactive in 2001, enacting only twelve Acts and meeting for only nineteen (19) sittings since the March 19, 2001 General Elections. Of the Acts passed, three dealt with the General or Local Government Elections, six with constitutional amendments, one with the Medical Practitioners Act and one with the Appropriation of Funds from the Consolidated Fund.  

Ironically, the only legislation directly affecting business was Act No. 10 of 2001 which was to clear the ground for the acquisition of the Water Street land of Toolsie Persaud Limited. The Head of the Presidential Secretariat was reported as saying that the land was being acquired to relocate the Water Street vendors by September 30, 2001.

Our Hard(ly) Working Parliament

The performance of the Parliament in 2001 was by far the least productive for over a decade. The table below shows the number of Acts which were passed during the years 1997-2001.

Ram and McRae’s Comments

The situation in the National Assembly is now so bad that one commentator has described Parliament as “being in a coma”.  Indeed, the failure of Parliament to meet is one if not the only reason for the walk out by the opposition members.

Up to the time of the presentation of the Budget, there was no sitting in Parliament in 2002. While important, debating the budget which in the final analysis will be passed without amendment as has happened over the past 30 years, is not the only function of Parliament. Indeed, even if our Parliament were to work full-time, there might still be enough work to last more than one year.

What makes the situation not only disappointing, but also disgraceful is that it is the first time in the history of Guyana that the country has a Minister dedicated to Parliamentary affairs.

For further comments, please see Commentary and Analysis.