Jan 12, 2012 Editorial
Parliament is convening today after a break that lasted from October 28th, to facilitate the holding of the polls on November 28th, last. There are going to be a lot of new things about this 10th Parliament.
For one thing, the government is not going to enjoy the majority all governments have had since the introduction of the unicameral assembly way back in 1964.
This is new territory and it demands a level of maturity. Ever since the conclusion of the elections and the release of the results, there have been talks between the government and the opposition. However, from recent happenings, it looks as though accusations are going to be the order of the day until the next elections.
Already the government is accusing the opposition of forcing a break with tradition. This had to do with the election of the Speaker. The government says that convention and practice allow the government to elect the Speaker.
Presidential Adviser Gail Teixeira said that in the history of minority governments, the governing parties have always elected the Speaker. And there have been many minority governments. Britain broke tradition once in 100 years and elected a Speaker from the opposition. That was the only time it happened. But almost all the others allowed the government to elect the Speaker.
What is not clear is whether the other political parties actually nominated one from among their own to be Speaker and because they lacked the numbers in parliament their nomination collapsed under the sheer weight of numbers.
The opposition wants one of its own to be the Speaker. And with good reason. For the most part the Parliamentary opposition found that the Speaker was never really impartial. Many of its impromptu motions were denied and there were rulings that the opposition thought should have gone in its favour but instead went against it.
But the very opposition who just weeks ago exuded great joy at -+overwhelming the government in the National Assembly are now unable to agree on anything. They are at odds attempting to agree on the individual who would serve as Speaker of the National Assembly. With one day to go, there is still no agreement between the opposition parties. Instead, both are holding to their original position.
Should this continue, then Ralph Ramkarran may very well be the Speaker.
There is something else that, if the government is to be believed, could see an acrimonious relationship in the coming days. Soon after the results, President Donald Ramotar began meeting with the various opposition leaders, together and severally. These meetings were supposed to plan the way forward. According to Office of the President, there was agreement on a Tripartite Committee.
But the two Parliamentary opposition parties, A Partnership for National Unity and the Alliance for Change, have been meeting for their own agenda. Cabinet views this as a departure from the agreement.
It can never be considered a breach of agreement or a case of dismissing the government because the two opposition parties opt to meet for their own purposes. Outside of business that could be considered of interest to the nation, there are other things that a political opposition may wish to discuss. They may also wish to plan strategies.
For example, in the run up to the elections, there was talk that some contracts that are being executed at this time need to be renegotiated. Surely, the government may not wish to investigate itself and so any discussion in this direction may be an exercise in futility. Instead, the opposition parties may wish to discuss strategies.
It is not unusual for members of the opposition to disagree with the general direction of the party. Some of the members may very well support the government’s contracts and would therefore not agree for any investigation. Thus the parties need to meet ahead of any move to the parliament.
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