Dec 30, 2013 News
– Attorney General
The Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall is of the firm belief that the Opposition is forgetting their role, and come 2014, they must be prepared to have more discussions with the government as opposed to disseminating misinformation in the press and not responding to calls for public debates.
Nandlall said that The Alliance For Change (AFC) and A Partnership for National Unity need to dedicate their energies jointly to have compromise with the government on matters of national interest.
The Attorney General asserted that matters which affect the livelihood of the people of Guyana require all the political parties to be open and negotiable where there appears to be some amount of gridlock.
“These are issues with which we cannot afford to play politics. When you look at the manifestos of the AFC, APNU and the PPP/C, you will see great commonalities in the programmes with regard to what we advocate and want for the country. But what you find is that in some cases when the government sets out to implement the very projects, the Opposition goes ahead and opposes them. For example, all three parties have spoken extensively on the need for affordable and cheap source of energy. All three parties recognized this as the greatest impetus of economic growth. Yet when the government puts forward its proposal for the Amaila Hydro Power Project, the Opposition killed it. Although the Secretary of the company involved with the project was Mr. Nigel Hughes who is an Executive Member of the AFC.”
He added, “In terms of APNU, it was the People’s National Congress (PNC) that started the hydro project which failed, so it’s not that they don’t appreciate the importance of the hydro project or they are not acquainted with it. The AFC and APNU leadership visited the site and were given every bit of information and at the last minute they turned around and murdered it.”
Nevertheless, the Legal Affairs Minister reminded that President Donald Ramotar has pledged to continue to explore all available avenues to ensure that the country has a cheap supply of electricity. “This work will continue.”
Nandlall also spoke on the controversial Anti Money Laundering Bill. He said, “This was a matter of grave national importance but it is being kicked around like a political football by members of the Opposition. But for the New Year, this attitude must change and there must be a greater degree of consultation and dialogue rather that the spewing of propaganda to the press and the perpetuation of falsehoods. We must be able to sit and talk about the matters of public interest and debate on them and make decisions for the greater good of the people of the nation.”
The Attorney General also reminded that in 2012 the government had arranged a series of debates which were televised. The debates focused on allegations of corruption among other matters. But Nandlall stressed that the APNU only turned up to one of the seven debates whilst the AFC was absent for four. “The ones that they turned up to, government officials overwhelmed them with information and I believe they were embarrassed. The topics for these debates were given to them before hand and an independent, non political moderator was used. Yet they did not participate in these debates.”
“With regard to the contentious New River Triangle matter, Minister Robert Persaud has invited the Opposition to debate on it but to date they have not accepted the invite. The AFC’s Leader, Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan, after he created a massive furor in the press about the distribution of land on the East Bank Demerara to private developers, when he was invited to a public discourse by Minister Irfaan Ali, his lewd response was ‘Haul your ass.’ When the Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh invited the Shadow Finance Minister of APNU, Mr. Carl Greenidge to discuss the 2013 Budget, he was mysteriously out of the country for a long period . The Opposition cannot continue to claim that the government is not consulting with them and whenever government attempts to engage them, they apparently run and hide. They must make a change for 2014. They cannot carry on a one-way conversation with the press about corruption and lack of accountability and when they are invited to a public debate they avoid it at all cost.”
He added, “As it relates to the Public Procurement system, they continue to make accusations but in the volume of these very allegations, not once have they ever pin-pointed a government official implicating him or her in any wrongdoing without the government being able to exonerate itself…I hope that the Opposition recognizes that going down the road of falsehoods will get them nowhere.”
Nandlall also explained that the Opposition has to constructively engage the government as responsible and nationalistic leaders should.
“One can be critical of the government, be opposed to it while still striving to at least be dispassionate, constructive and nationalistic in its approach. Only then will the government and the people regard the criticisms as credible and bonafide.”
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