Constitutional crisis will erupt if President refuses to assent to opposition Bills – AFC
“Ramotar needs to wake up and remind himself that he has moved beyond being the leader of the PPP.”
“There will be a constitutional crisis if the President intends not to sign any of the Bills put forward by the opposition. This would also cause gridlock… and such a position demonstrates contempt and disdain for the National Assembly. It is tantamount to holding the National Assembly hostage.”
These sentiments were expressed by Alliance For Change (AFC)’s Chairman, Khemraj Ramjattan, at the party’s weekly press conference held yesterday at the Sidewalk Café on Middle Street.
This was in response to a statement President Donald Ramotar made, threatening not assent to bills passed in the National Assembly by the combined opposition, in which his government’s input was not taken on board, state television, National Communications Network, reported two Wednesdays ago.
Ramotar accused the combined opposition of using its one-seat majority in the house to “undermine the work and duties of the government” adding that such actions will not be allowed.
“The Government wants to take us to the edge; whenever this happens the PPP gets a turn in their favour because of the racial voting pattern,” Ramjattan asserted.
Ramjattan said the AFC is perplexed as to why President Ramotar would say he will not sign into law any Bill brought to the National Assembly by the opposition and passed by the House.
“It is mind-boggling that the President of this country would publicly announce that he will disregard a decision of the National Assembly. The AFC is urging President Ramotar to go read and check for himself exactly what are the functions of the Parliament, including his functions as President and those of the opposition, and not to rely solely on the advice of those within his ranks who may want to see him fail as a president.” Ramjattan affirmed.
He underscored that adopting such a position, as President Ramotar publicly announced, could see him go down in history as a president who failed to make legislation.
“Ramotar needs to wake up and remind himself that he has moved beyond being the leader of the PPP. The President must remember he is not president of the PPP, he is President of the people of Guyana, and if the representatives of the majority of the people agree on legislation for the development of this country, then he as president has a duty, a responsibility, to honour the wishes of the people,” the AFC Chairman stated emphatically
“Mr. Ramotar is now the leader of a free, democratic country and in this democracy it is the collective will of the people as represented in the National Assembly that will pass the laws.”
Ramjattan said that his Party has repeatedly indicated that it is willing to work with the government, “but it must be under the umbrella of cordiality, mutual respect and a genuine commitment to compromise in the interest of what is best for the people of this country.”
He explained that the dispensation of the Tenth Parliament presents the opportunity to President Ramotar to show the world that under his stewardship, democracy will take firm root in a country that has had its own type of dictatorship, and that he can move the country beyond a fast developing oligarchy.