– Khemraj Ramjattan
The possibility of Government calling snap elections has been categorically shot down by Chairman of the Alliance for Change (AFC), Khemraj Ramjattan.
Ramjattan, during the party’s weekly press briefing, last week shared his belief that attempts on the part of Government to indicate the possibility of snap elections is nothing more than an attempt to distract the opposition.
“I don’t believe that there is going to be snap elections. I believe that the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) wants the opposition to be running hither, thither and across the place preparing for it (nothing)…”
Ramjattan has backed his conviction with the notion that “Mr Donald Ramotar will not be the presidential candidate because his internal Freedom House is calling for Primaries now in relation to who should be the presidential candidates. If he now calls an election and they have to find a presidential candidate, he might not be that person and he wouldn’t want to risk that and five years as President.”
According to Ramjattan, he is equipped with information, which suggests that the current President is elated to have oil found under his tenure.
“He wouldn’t want to risk the oil being found under some other President.” However, the most credible reason for not calling snap elections, according to Ramjattan is that the PPP would not take the risk of having to ask the National Assembly to pass a provision through a supplementary allocation of some sort for monies to be appropriated.
That money, according to the AFC Chairman, could fall within the range of $2.5 billion to $3 billion and “we in parliament, the AFC and A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), and I am hoping that the APNU (like the AFC) would vote it down.”
He asserted that while the President has the power to call snap elections at any time, such a move could only be possible if funding is available but at the same time the opposition holding 33 of the 65-seat Parliament has the power to block the President’s request.
Meanwhile, tripartite talks between the opposition and the Government as it relates to the National Budget are progressing, according to Ramjattan, who revealed that just a few evenings ago, a meeting was held at Office of the President. That meeting, which reportedly saw Bholan Boodhoo and Gerhard Ramsaroop representing the AFC, Carl Greenidge and Winston George representing the APNU and Irfaan Ali and Ashni Singh representing the PPP, looked at the identification of a number of priority areas, Ramjattan said. However, he noted that “the impression that I am left with through communication with my two representatives, is that it does seem that the budget is a done deal and that whatever proposals they might want to propose to be in that budget Messrs Ali and Singh are going to put up some brick walls…”
The indication from representatives of the ruling party is that any new proposals could probably be introduced for the 2013 budget and not this year, Ramjattan speculated. However, he asserted that this move will certainly not deter the AFC from continuing talks. “At this stage, we do not want the budget to slide, meaning, it must not be exclusively a PPP’s budget. We would really like it to have inputs from the AFC, and I am certain that APNU would also like to have an input as well…but assuming that it does not happen, we would have to take it from there.”
It is Ramjattan’s belief that breaking off discussions with the ruling party could very well be in their interest, a development the AFC is not willing to see materialize. According to the AFC Chairman, politicians must utilize every forum that is available to them so that their policies, programmes and principles are implemented and “yes, I decided it is a useful forum, as are other fora that we should utilize…So our party’s position is to be present.”
Oct 16, 2018By Sean Devers in Trinidad In association with Regal, Vnet, Noble House Seafoods & Cascadia Hotel In murky conditions and played before virtually empty stands, Guyana Jaguars, led by a 79-run...
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