Parliament launches own website
By Mark Ramotar
January 27, 2004
SPEAKER of the National Assembly, Mr. Ralph Ramkarran, yesterday described the launching of the parliamentary website and Parliamentary guide as “an innovation of vast importance” for the National Assembly and for Guyanese in general.
The website (www.parliament.GOV.gy) was created and designed by local network provider SDNP (Sustainable Development Network Programme) in collaboration with the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the National Assembly, with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Ramkarran, in his remarks at the launching ceremony, which was held in the Parliament Library, Public Buildings on Brickdam, thanked the U.S. government and its agencies such as USAID and NDI for making it possible to have this development today.
“Looking at it largely and broadly, the establishment of a website is not a rather big thing but for us in Guyana and for our parliament particularly, this is an innovation of vast importance,” the Speaker remarked.
“This has been an administrative innovation and we hope that the website will serve to provide information about parliament and the various activities of parliament,” he posited.
Ramkarran said he and his staff will rely on Members of Parliament (MPs) in particular for ideas on how to develop and use the website. “We will rely on critical analysis of what we do in order to improve what we are doing,” he asserted.
“We have started on a programme of reform and that reform has been driven by two things in the recent past, the Constitutional Reform proposals, the dialogue between the Opposition Leader and President Bharrat Jagdeo, and now the continuation of that dialogue in the form of constructive engagement,” he said.
“These things are driving the progress that we are making and the interest of the international community in adding some of the material resources for us to continue. It is therefore very important that the constructive engagement continues (especially) those of us who are interested in the improvement of parliament and its functions,” the Speaker added.
“We have many dreams of how our parliament should develop and we are working on those. Some of them are large tasks and very expensive but with your support and your commitment and the commitment of the international community, I am sure that we will make great strides in the not too distant future,” Ramkarran asserted.
Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr. Sherlock Isaacs, said in this age of information technology, the computer must be recognized “not just as a useful and important tool in the organization of our lives but indeed a necessary and vital instrument in the progressive life of modern man.”
“With this awareness, I can now fully understand the great vision of former President of the United States, Mr. Bill Clinton, when he made the pronouncement that there must be a computer in every home,” Isaacs asserted.
NDI’s Country Director in Guyana, Mr. Michael Murphy, in his remarks at the ceremony, stressed the need for the appropriate utilization of technology which he said can greatly enhance the legislative capacity to provide democratic governance.
“In addition to increasing parliamentary effectiveness and efficiency and thereby reducing costs, information technology when creatively applied also promotes openness, transparency, accountability and accessibility,” Murphy reasoned.
Murphy also noted that NDI and SDNP have worked in close collaboration with the Parliament Office to develop the parliamentary website, which will provide insight into the workings of Parliament for the general public, researchers, MPs and students.
Noting that the launching of the website is a milestone for his group, Manager of SDNP, Mr. Vidya Kissoon, gave the assurance that it is a work in progress and the website will be updated constantly. He also indicated that SDNP remains committed to the use of information technology to improve the lives of all Guyanese.
Chief Administrative Officer of the Parliament Office, Mr. Rawle Small, officially launched the website in the presence of Members of Parliament, Members of the Diplomatic Corp, members of the Media and other special invitees.