The National Assembly on Thursday afternoon unanimously passed a motion which paved the way for Guyana to join the International Parliamentary Union (IPU) – an international organisation of Parliaments established in 1889.
The motion, moved by Prime Minister and First Vice President Moses Nagamootoo noted that the IPU provided an opportunity to express views on issues of international interest.
“We have great advantages in becoming a member of the IPU; the other day we observe International Women’s Day and we wish to note that one of the consistent work of this International Parliamentary Union has been in the area of women: to have women’s involvement,” Nagamootoo told the House. The Parliamentary Management Committee of the 10th Parliament on May 2, 2014 decided that Guyana should become a member of the IPU and an application was submitted by Guyana on May 27, 2014.
However, the IPU noted that in order for that application to be processed, the Guyana Parliament must pass a resolution approving the country becoming a member of the Union.
Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo
Nagamootoo said that Guyana would be required to pay an annual subscription fee of $2 million.
He said, however, this investment was a good one since it would allow Guyana to reap significant benefits from the IPU.
Meanwhile, Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira said that her People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) supported the motion and was also cognisant of the importance of the IPU.
“It is important to note that this is an important international body which Guyana should be a part of,” Teixeira stated.
She also explained that back in 2004 she and then Opposition legislator Joseph Harmon agreed on Guyana’s involvement; however, because of the financial implications, a recommendation was forwarded to Cabinet. That recommendation was subsequently approved. “We are very pleased that the motion has finally reached here,” Teixeira said, and called for its “expeditious implementation”.
Both Nagamootoo and Teixeira agreed too that Guyana must join other parliamentary groupings, including the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) Parliament when it was fully established.
The IPU, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, said on its website that it was the focal point for world-wide parliamentary dialogue and worked for peace and cooperation among peoples and for the firm establishment of representative democracy.
Among its objectives are fostering contacts, coordination, and exchange experiences among parliaments and parliamentarians of all countries; considering questions of international interest and concern and expressing its views on such issues in order to bring about action by parliaments and parliamentarians.
It also contributes to the defence and promotion of human rights – an essential factor of parliamentary democracy and development and better knowledge of the working of representative institutions and to the strengthening and development of their means of action.
The IPU supports the efforts of and works in close cooperation with the United Nations, whose objectives it shares. The Union also cooperates with regional inter-parliamentary organisations, as well as with international intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations which are motivated by the same ideals.