Gov’t wants ad­di­tional $116M for SARA

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With

much con­tro­versy still sur­round­ing the es­tab­lish­ment of the State As­sets Re­cov­ery Agency (SARA), pre­vi­ously known as the State As­sets Re­cov­ery Unit (SARU), the Coali­tion Gov­ern­ment has moved to the Na­tional As­sem­bly for mil­lions more to fund the Agency. The re­quest for the monies for SARA was made un­der the bud­get for the Min­istry of Legal Af­fairs – un­der the head­ing ‘sub­si­dies and con­tri­bu­tions to lo­cal or­gan­i­sa­tions’.

The sums re­quested in­clude: $89.89M for man­age­rial, tech­ni­cal, su­per­vi­sory and cler­i­cal staffers, as well as for ser­vices; $13M for two ve­hi­cles; and $13.42M to fur­nish and equip a newly rented build­ing to house SARA, in­clu­sive of fur­ni­ture, tele­vi­sion, re­frig­er­a­tor, pho­to­copier, com­puter server and wa­ter dis­penser – a whop­ping $116.31M.

In April this year, after fiery ar­gu­ments on the State As­sets Re­cov­ery Agency (SARA) Bill by the po­lit­i­cal Op­po­si­tion Par­lia­men­tar­ian, Gov­ern­ment Par­lia­men­tar­ian and Nat­u­ral Re­sources Min­is­ter, Raphael Trotman, moved a mo­tion for a vote to be called on the pas­sage of the Bill – ef­fec­tively shut­ting down the de­bate. In ad­di­tion to the po­lit­i­cal Op­po­si­tion, the Pri­vate Sec­tor Com­mis­sion (PSC) and the Guyana Hu­man Rights As­so­ci­a­tion (GHRA) were among the bod­ies that re­jected the SARA Bill in the form it was brought to the Na­tional As­sem­bly. There were sev­eral calls for the Bill to be sent to a Par­lia­men­tary Spe­cial Se­lect Com­mit­tee. The Bill was passed by a gov­ern­ment ma­jor­ity.

Mean­while, the mat­ter of top staffers for SARA is cur­rently be­fore the Par­lia­men­tary Com­mit­tee of Ap­point­ments.

The gov­ern­ment’s re­quest for the monies is ex­pected to be scru­ti­nized by the po­lit­i­cal Op­po­si­tion. The monies re­quested for SARA is part of an ad­di­tional $2.51B re­quested by Gov­ern­ment via a fi­nan­cial pa­per – the sec­ond fi­nan­cial pa­per brought to the House in the last seven months.

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