Granger formally spurns dialogue with Ramotar
Leader of the Opposition, David Granger has formally rejected an invitation to have dialogue with President Donald Ramotar on the way forward following the prorogation of Parliament.
In his response, Granger said to the President that the Opposition was not willing to engage in dialogue with the Executive outside of the National Assembly.
Granger made the announcement on Tuesday outside the Office of the President on Vlissengen Road, Georgetown, during A Partnership for National Unity’s weekly anti-prorogation protests. The Opposition Leader told reporters: “A Partnership for National Unity will not be prepared to enter into the dialogue that the President proposed until Parliament is reconvened. So he now has an answer and our answer is quite clear; there will be no dialogue until and unless Parliament is reconvened.”
Granger maintained that it was quite reasonable to refuse to engage the President, given the fact that a minority government suspended a majority-controlled National Assembly. “We are still prepared to talk once Parliament reconvenes. What happens in Parliament is another matter,” said Granger.
APNU ready for polls
Granger made it clear that should the President name a date for elections, the APNU coalition was ready to go to the polls. “If he wants election, let us proceed; let him hear how angry the people are at what has happened under his administration for the last three years,” the Opposition Leader said.
While the APNU has been taking to the streets every Tuesday for the past couple of months, one of the parties within the coalition has said that there needed to be a stronger presence. The Working People’s Alliance (WPA) has complained that the protest actions are not seeing the support that it should have. The party also argued that there was need for a definitive game plan on the part of the APNU in its anti-prorogation campaign.
But Granger was insistent that the party had a game plan. When questioned by the Guyana Times about the “game plan”, the APNU leader remarked “we have a definite game plan”, but “we will not disclose that game plan to the Guyana Times”.
According to the Opposition Leader, the current protest actions are being conducted in the interests of the entire coalition and not in accordance with the whims of any single party. “We will continue to act in accordance with the best interests of the entire partnership. We are conducting a series of orderly and lawful protests to bring pressure to bear on the PPP/C [People’s Progressive Party/Civic] Administration and we feel that, that is working and once we feel that there is going to be success in our efforts we will continue these efforts,” said Granger.
WPA Leader, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine told reporters that the party still thinks the protest actions are inadequate. He told reporters during the protest that “we wanted to see something more robust”, adding that “we would like to see for instance, action in the villages”.
Roopnaraine explained that thus far all of the protest actions have been centred in Georgetown, but there was ample need and opportunity for there to be action in the villages. When asked about the game plan, Roopnaraine flat out stated that the WPA has not seen any definite plan of action from the APNU.
He said “that is something that we continue to believe is required”, adding that there was need for the activities to be upped in order to get any mindful response from the government. “The AFC [Alliance For Change], the Opposition’s junior partner that initiated the No-Confidence Motion which precipitated the prorogation move by the Government to thwart the vote for early elections, has been so far conspicuously absent from the firing line, except for a guest appearance at the APNU rally of November 14. Momentum is being lost and reaction to the Government’s derailing of the No-Confidence Motion appears to be protest in slow motion,” said the WPA in a release over the weekend.
The WPA is of the view that there was need for a more “vigorous campaign by the Opposition against the prolongation of the proroguing of Parliament”.
But PPP/C says that this call for vigorous campaigning is being seen as inciting violence on the part of the WPA. At a press conference on Monday, PPP General Secretary Clement Rohee said the party was not unmindful of the “inciting of violence by the WPA”.
Rohee said that by calling for intensified protest action, the WPA was “desperately trying to ride on the back of the APNU in an effort not to become obsolete”. According to Rohee, it would seem that the WPA has learnt nothing from its past “reckless and adventuristic” behaviour that caused it to fade into the political background over time.