Carl Greenidge, A Partnership for National Unity’s (APNU) Shadow Minister of Finance has debunked claims by the
non-governmental organization, Blue CAPS, that the political opposition is as guilty as the government in disrespecting the procedures and rulings of the National Assembly.
The politician has challenged the leader of the organization, Clinton Urling, to bring forth clear examples to support his position. “His comments with regard to the political opposition are just baseless,” Greenidge expressed.
The Alliance For Change (AFC) initially started the “ten point list of demands” when it called on government to do several things which included the holding of Local Government Elections, establish the Public Procurement Commission and appoint the members to the Integrity Commission.
The People’s Progressive Party had also made its list of 10 demands. The Party’s General Secretary, Clement Rohee, called on the opposition to give its support for a number of projects which included the controversial Marriott Hotel, the Specialty Hospital and the Amaila Falls Hydro project.
Blue CAPS subsequently issued its own list of demands for the country’s political leaders.
The organization noted that while both the opposition and government have laid out their 10-point demands of each other, it has its own ten demands it would like from its political policy makers on both sides of the aisle which are in the interest of the people.
The group called for the holding of Local Government Elections, for policy makers to put Guyana’s interest above party interest, end racial politics, engage and incorporate civil society’s views in national decision making, compromise and negotiate on important issues, respect Parliamentary procedures and decisions, show equality and respect for young leaders, respect human rights of all citizens, end the ‘cuss out’ culture, and establish institutions to increase transparency and accountability.
Urling told this publication, that its 10-point demands are intended to serve as “a proclamation to our political policy makers as to what we consider positive steps towards a more mature, inclusive, productive and effective political culture.”
”In some instances, the individual demands are applicable to one political party more than it is to the other. In other instances, both sides can be found wanting. We would leave it up to the public and the media to discern where applicable. What is more important is for all our political policy makers, both government and opposition benches, to embrace a culture that coincides and aligns with our 10-point demands as we move forward with Guyana’s development.”
Citing an example that the political opposition is as guilty as the government in disrespecting the procedures and rulings of the National Assembly, Urling said, “One example that comes to memory is the Speaker’s ruling that Minister Clement Rohee has the authority to make presentations in the National Assembly despite a no confidence motion against the said Minister. This did not find favor by the APNU and a public ridicule of the Speakers decision was expressed. It is still not clear if the APNU respects the Speaker’s ruling on this matter.”
“We (Blue CAPS) are a non-partisan civic NGO which develops and advocates public policy prescriptions for a better Guyana. Further, we need a better political culture and though our organization is still in an informal stage before it gets registered under the Companies Act, we are still pressing for policies we believe are in the interest of the people and that is part of what we basically do.”
“We have seen since the last elections, disrespect for parliamentary protocols from both sides. We have Parliamentarians refusing to apologize when instructed to by the Speaker of the House, and some failing to show up at Committee meetings. Also the lack of respect for Motions passed and certain rulings of the National Assembly are also matters of concern, and it all shows a level of immaturity from our leaders. We are concerned about Parliament’s power being undermined because of lack of respect from both sides. “
The businessman continued, “They also need to end this cuss out culture. It is not healthy for our people. And it is an obvious pattern that is developing. When one makes comments against those doctrines held by some, we see attempts from both sides to tarnish that person and it is becoming part of the political culture. Let me reiterate that we are an NGO and I am basically speaking to the issues affecting civil society and it is not strange for a non partisan group to make demands that are political in nature because at the end of the day it has an effect on the lives of the people.”
Urling said, “The NGO will continue to advocate for the rights of the people. We will work along with the politicians and try to influence the discourse but at the end of it all that this country needs is mature politics.”
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