By Kiana Wilburg
Determined to have a parliamentary sitting before month end to debate its No-Confidence Motion, the Alliance For
Change (AFC) recently requested the support of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) in its appeal to the Speaker of the National Assembly, to call a sitting, given that the joint opposition represents 51 percent of the House.
APNU Leader, David Granger subsequently told the media yesterday at his weekly press conference that he received the AFC’s letter and a “response” was given to the party. While The Opposition Leader also indicated that he is looking forward to a sitting before month end, he did not disclose the nature of his “response” to the AFC.
Calls to the AFC’s General Secretary, David Patterson last evening revealed that Granger’s response to the party’s request for support on the joint approach was a “mere acknowledgement of the letter.”
This publication then requested a copy of the letter sent to the Opposition Leader. The letter which was written by AFC’s Leader, Khemraj Ramjattan reads, “As we are all aware, the parliamentary recess ended on October 10… It does not appear that a Sitting will happen. Normally, this first Sitting is called by the Leader of the House who is the Prime Minister. I rather suspect that the underlying reason for not wanting to do so this time is because of his Government’s fear of the AFC’s no-confidence motion which both of our Parties, the AFC and APNU have agreed to support….In view of my suspicion that the PPP will want to maximally delay this most important public matter…. the Opposition ought to avoid any further delay in commencing a Sitting. I propose that you and I do a joint letter to the Clerk of the Assembly Mr. Sherlock Isaacs requesting such a first Sitting, after the recent Recess, to be on Wednesday the 22nd or Friday the 24th October. Thursday 23rd is Diwali.
We must not sit idly by and allow this unwholesome Government to delay the inevitable. Hoping to hear from you as early as possible…”
In giving an invited comment on Granger’s response, Vice Chairman of the AFC, Moses Nagamootoo said, “I would take it that in view of disclosures to the media about the Parliamentary Management Meeting between the Chief Whip of the Opposition and the Government, they must have had some consultation and clearly they have discounted the proposed dates for the sitting of the Parliament. It seems that with Cabinet’s approval of trips for the People’s Progressive Party and the APNU, both sides are engaged. I am not really disappointed with Granger’s acknowledgement but I hope to have some clarity on the political course. But it appears both PPP and APNU are engaged.
As I explained at AFC’s last press conference, we can request the Speaker to call a sitting once 51 percent of the House is calling and ready for it and of course, the political opposition represents that 51 percent. And this is what we thought we would do in light of the circumstances. I do hope that the leaders of the parties meet and speak on this matter. But, I don’t want to read too much into this for it would poison our relationship.”
Nagamootoo was then asked whether he expected an immediate response of support for the call for a sitting but to this he said, “Given all that has taken place, I know for sure that there would be no sitting on or before October 24. I expect that we are going to take a joint approach on this matter. Granger is a polite guy. I am looking to see what happens beyond the politeness.”
Speaker of the National Assembly, Raphael Trotman was also contacted yesterday by this publication on the matter. Trotman revealed that he has received some advice from the Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Issacs on AFC’s proposed move and is still studying it.
The House Speaker also stated that he believes the will of the people should be put first and it should not be hindered by delays however, it must be done within proper procedures.
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