President prorogues Parliament
In historic move, President Donald Ramotar on Monday issued a proclamation proroguing the National Assembly, hoping that the Government and the Opposition will engage in meaningful talks on Guyana’s development.
This prorogation came on the day the combined Opposition, the Alliance For Change (AFC) and the A Partnership For National Unity (APNU) had intended to pass a No-confidence Motion against the Ramotar-led Peoples Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration.
Though the move was a cause of utter vexation to the Opposition parties, President Donald Ramotar had insisted that the proclamation was made so that the Opposition would not stall development.
In an address to the nation on Monday afternoon, Ramotar said “Consistent with my earlier position and in accordance with powers conferred on me by Article 70 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Guyana, I earlier today issued a Proclamation proroguing the 10th Parliament”.
The President also said that though the decision to prorogue the National Assembly was taken, it was not the original plan. He had hoped that his earlier warnings to the Opposition would be heeded, but instead went ahead with its anti-developmental stratagem that revolved around the No-Confidence Motion.
The President contended that his “appeals to return to normalcy, to constructively address the many important issues confronting us in Guyana, appear to have fallen on deaf ears… my decision to exercise this constitutional option was not taken lightly, but it was the sole recourse that was left to me to ensure that the life of the 10th Parliament was preserved”.
He stressed though the Opposition may run with the belief that his Executive decision was made on the basis of politics, it was not.
He further emphasised that if the No-Confidence Motion was debated and passed, there would have been a developmental standstill and certain tensions would have arisen.
“Some may ask why is it that my Government has gone this Constitutional route and not go along with the debate. The answer lies in the practical choice between an atmosphere of confrontation, as the No-Confidence Motion debate would fuel or that of possible accommodation, as a prorogued Parliament can facilitate, if there is a genuine intent on all sides. I also want to assure all that my decision ensures that the life of the 10th Parliament is preserved up to a maximum of six months, as permitted by the Constitution of Guyana.”
Ramotar said he is hoping that the Opposition uses this period of time to rehash issues of national import so that when Parliament resumes in six months, there will be a clear indication of what will happen going forward.
It should be noted too that President Ramotar has offered to end the prorogation in less than the maximum time should a consensus be arrived at between the Opposition parties and Government to return the National Assembly to a state of normalcy.
“It is, however, my genuine desire to have the prorogation of the 10th Parliament ended sooner were my Government and the Opposition to reach an agreement for a return to normalcy. Further, were these entreaties of cooperation by my Government to be unsuccessful, I would then take the necessary steps for the holding of early General Elections so that the democratic will of our people can be freely exercised.”
On Sunday, Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon stressed that more talks were needed as well as more time by the political leaders and proroguing Parliament could actually lead to a solution being found.
Over the past weekend, Government Ministers and Parliamentarians from the ruling PPP/C administration stood in unity with President Donald Ramotar as they explained a series of well-coordinated programmes, the rationale and intent of his decision.
Monday’s sitting of the National Assembly will mark its first post-recess meeting after a period of confusion by the Opposition and the Speaker about who is empowered according to the Standing Orders of Parliament to set the date for the meeting.
APNU and AFC have also been meeting with the public at various forums over the weekend with the aim of rallying more support for their unpopular decision to bring down the Government via the No-Confidence Motion.
In fact, both Opposition parties have agreed to suspend the Standing Orders to allow the No-Confidence Motion to be discussed first as a matter of priority, ahead of a set of critical bills related to Government’s business.
The AFC and APNU have also been meeting to strategise their collective actions to avoid and block attempts by the Government in Parliament to suppress the motion for a more constructive approach.
Nandlall is a monumental disgrace – angry protestors
After the most shocking announcement of the prorogation of the National Assembly,
scores of citizens flocked to the gates of the Parliament to hear the plans of the way forward by members of the political Opposition, particularly A Partnership for National Unity (APNU).
The tension among citizens was quite noticeable, as several begged for answers to questions that even some disappointed politicians seemed unable to provide at the time.
One question that remains unanswered at this point for some citizens is, “What is the way forward?”
Brigadier, David Granger, Leader of the APNU, appealed to citizens yesterday to remain strong and to understand the extent to which the current administration would go to muffle their voices.
Many frustrated citizens also sought to voice their concerns.
One vendor and mother of three daughters said, “This government just ain’t got no shame. Imagine is we vote got these people in office. Now look what they doing to we. They show we today they don’t care about the poor people. They don’t want to do anything for us.
“This is not a democracy, this is a step back to the days of slavery.”
One irate group also held high, placards depicting disdain for the embattled Attorney General, Anil Nandlall.
Two cards read, “Nandlall is a Chatree without dignity,” and “The AG is a disgrace, he has to go now.”
The leader of the group, a 55-year-old teacher said, “This government has sunk to an extreme low. It can’t go lower than what it did today. This entire nation needs to wake up and wake up quickly.
“This government did this because it is ashamed of itself. It couldn’t bear to face the people on its illegalities and corrupt acts.
“You honestly think the Chatree could have faced the Opposition today? Of course not. Imagine we got an Advisor to the President, telling a reporter about plans that he knows which will bring harm to a newspaper publisher and staff? Isn’t that insane?
“The Attorney General is a monumental disgrace. He is a huge disappointment to the people. We want him out of there. He is not fit to even grace the chambers of the Parliament. He is not worthy to represent the people anymore.”
Another member of the group said, “To suspend Parliament like this shows that you have no respect for the people. The government is disrespectful. You know is like when you have chosen someone to marry and after marriage that person continuously abuses you, rapes you, robs you, but when you want a divorce, they refusing to sign the papers or even give you a listening ear.
“That is exactly what is going on. The relationship this government got with the people is now rotten. There is no love, no care there. All you seeing is a cold and ruthless set of people ruling we.
“The people calling for a divorce and they don’t want to give us. They need to face the No-Confidence motion. If you continue to stifle the people like this then all you are asking for is crime.”
The protestors also called for APNU and the AFC to continue to pull closer at this point in time.
Presidente de Guyana disuelve el Parlamento para evitar debates estériles
El presidente de Guyana, Donald Ramotar, disolvió hoy el Parlamento por un período máximo de seis meses con el objetivo, dijo, de evitar debates estériles con la oposición a pocos meses de las elecciones generales y regionales de enero 2015.
Ramotar anunció su decisión a la Asamblea Nacional, que podría reunirse hoy, ya que el presidente de ese cuerpo legislativo, Raphael Trotman, no ha recibido todavía una copia por escrito de la postura tomada por el jefe del Ejecutivo, informó Efe.
“Algunos pueden preguntarse por qué mi Gobierno ha optado por la ruta constitucional -que le facultad a disolver el Parlamento- y no ha participado del debate. La respuesta está en que es lo más práctico ante el ambiente de confrontación y la falta de confianza que un debate podría fomentar”, justificó Ramotar.
Según la Agencia de Información Gubernamental de Guyana, el ministro de Recursos Naturales y Ambiente, Robert Persaud, dijo que el presidente está presionando el “botón de reinicio” en un esfuerzo por resolver asuntos críticos con la oposición.
Persaud indicó que la disolución del Parlamento ayudará a disminuir la tensión entre el Gobierno y la oposición, formada por la Asociación por la Unidad Nacional (APNU, por sus siglas en inglés) y la Alianza por un Cambio (AFC, por sus siglas en inglés).
El secretario de Estado, Roger Luncheon, citó el artículo 70 de la Constitución de Guyana que permite la disolución del Parlamento, que supondrá que propuestas como las enmiendas a la Ley contra el lavado de dinero y terrorismo financiero queden congeladas o desestimadas.
Además, el presupuesto gubernamental de 2015 no estará aprobado cuando comience el próximo año fiscal.
El líder de la oposición, David Granger, denunció por su parte que la disolución del Parlamento permitirá al Gobierno utilizar fondos del presupuesto sin la necesidad de la ratificación de los votos de la cámara legislativa.
Guyana celebra elecciones generales y regionales en enero de 2015 y elecciones locales en el segundo semestre del próximo año.