Crucial work to continue as House clears $13.8B for constitutional agencies
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Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance Gail Teixeira
Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance Gail Teixeira

… GECOM gets $5.2B for Local Gov’t Elections

GUYANA’s lawmakers on Monday approved the $13.8 sum allocated to the various constitutional agencies, paving the way for these bodies to continue and, in some cases, expand their work programme this year.

Speaker of the House, Manzoor Nadir, dissolved the National assembly to the Committee of Supply in order to consider the estimates for the constitutional agencies. This was the first set of allocations under the 2023 National Budget being perused by the Parliamentarians.

The agencies are Parliament Office, the Audit Office of Guyana, the Public and Police Service Commissions, the Teaching Service Commission, the Guyana Elections Commission, the Supreme Court of Judicature, the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Office of the Ombudsman, the Public Service Appellate Tribunal, the Ethnic Relations Commission, the Judicial Service Commission, the Rights Commissions of Guyana and the Public Procurement Commission.

And it was Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance Gail Teixeira who fielded questions from the A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Members of Parliament (MPs) for these constitutional agencies.

Parliament Office will receive $1.9 billion, which will cater for the construction of four electrical grates and a metal scanner valued at $11 million. Other expected spending includes the procurement of security cameras for $11 million, $7 million for the construction of two guard huts, $3 million for seats for the public gallery in the National Assembly, $9.3 million for a 16-seater bus and $3.6 million for furniture and equipment.

Importantly, the Office of Leader of the Opposition got $5 million.

Meanwhile, $1.1 billion was approved for the Audit Office. The sum will be spent on wages, provision of furniture and equipment, inter alia.

Opposition Parliamentarian Volda Lawrence asked whether the increase in wages and whether there was a special department with responsibility for oil and gas. In response, Minister Teixeira said the sum was due to the eight per cent pay increase, while provisions are indeed being made for the new department.


The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) received the largest share of the allocations for constitutional agencies; its $5.2 billion budget was eventually approved by the Committee of Supply.

Lawrence questioned the increase of $1 billion for that entity this year, compared to $4.1 billion set aside last year.

“… It is expected that the $5 billion this time will be able to cover the Local Government Elections (LGEs),” Teixeira responded. She added that some 14, 500 temporary employees have been hired for LGEs this year.

Lawrence further probed whether GECOM will be purchasing biometric equipment for the elections, and whether sums were allocated towards that eventual purchase. Minister Teixeira, however, reminded Lawrence that the commission has not decided on the use of biometrics and as such, provisions were not made to procure the equipment.

If need be, however, the Governance Minister said, a supplementary budget will have to be prepared

Meanwhile, $4 billion was approved for the Supreme Court. This sum is intended to expand access to justice countrywide, while also addressing existing challenges in the system.

As it relates to Public Prosecutions, the Committee of Supply approved $336 million, which includes $63.5 million for capital spending at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Opposition MP Khemraj Ramjattan questioned why the lofty sum was being allotted and Minister Teixeira reminded him that the Eve Leary building housing the DPP’s chambers was destroyed by fire in 2021. As such, significant funds will be spent on buying new equipment and meeting other needs.

The Office of the Ombudsman had its $62.8 M budget approved, after Teixeira reminded Lawrence that Guyana has a functional Ombudsman.

“I’m a little bit flabbergasted. The honourable Ombudsman, Justice (Ret’d) Winston Patterson was appointed in 2015, reappointed in 2018 and is still in this position. As far as I know he works hard…” the minister told the Committee of Supply.

The Public Service Appellate Tribunal had its $69.8 million approved, despite scrutiny from Ramjattan, who asked how many cases the tribunal had determined for 2022. Minister Teixeira reminded him that there was no Public Service Commission (PSC), thus there would not be any cases.

A $137 million sum was approved for the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC), despite criticism from Lawrence as it relates to staffing. Minister Teixeira reminded the committee that a notice was made of the ERC process of nomination and hoped on the final day of the budget estimates, the motion to allow the ERC members would be approved. Then the list is approved by the House and sent to the President for their appointment.

Another $10 million was approved for the Judicial Service Commission. Importantly, Minister Teixeira explained that last year the President wrote the Leader of the Opposition seeking his support of suggested names of appointees, Parliament had picked its nominees. Regrettably, she said that the Opposition has chosen to address the substantive appointments of Chief Justice and a Chancellor of the Judiciary, thus leaving the letter of the JSC “hanging in the air.”

Teixeira, however, said she foresees movement surrounding the JSC in the “near future.”

The Rights Commissions, which encompass the Rights of the Child Commission (RCC), the Human Rights Commission (HRC), the Women and Gender Equality Commission (WGEC), and the Indigenous People’s Commission had its $155 million allocation approved too.

The Public Procurement Commission also had its $231.8 million approved after questions were raised by Ramjattan over staffing. However, these questions were nipped by Teixeira, who reminded Ramjattan that the agency was recently commissioned.

Meanwhile, $174.8 million for the Public and Police Service Commissions, and the Teaching Service Commission’s $147.6 million were passed without scrutiny.

The process for approval of the Estimates of Expenditure of these agencies continued smoothly as it had in 2022 following the December 29, 2021, parliamentary approval of the Fiscal Management and Accountability Amendment (FMAA) Act, which was successfully piloted at the time by Senior Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh during the 34th sitting of the 12th Parliament.

The legislation was amended from what it was previously during the tenure of the APNU+AFC administration and has since strengthened and streamlined the budget process for these Constitutional Agencies, while also preserving their independence.

Amendments made to the former legislation include those that were made to ensure better accountability and set out the practice and procedure to which these Constitutional Agencies must conform in terms of the management of their subventions for the efficient discharge of their functions.


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