It appears as though the possibility of having the majority of the House, the Alliance For Change (AFC) and A
Partnership for National Unity (APNU), jointly approach House Speaker Raphael Trotman on the reconvening of the sitting of the National Assembly – is now out of the question.
Determined to have a parliamentary sitting before month end to debate its No-Confidence Motion, the AFC recently requested the support of APNU in its appeal to the Speaker to call a sitting, given that the joint opposition represents 51 percent of the House.
APNU Leader, David Granger subsequently told the media that he had received the AFC’s letter and a “response” was given to the party. It was later revealed that this “response” was a “mere acknowledgement of the letter.”
Leader of the AFC, Khemraj Ramjattan was asked yesterday for an update to his request to the APNU leader for his support on the matter.
Ramjattan disclosed that based on certain indications, the move to jointly approach the Speaker of the House would no longer be pursued. He said that he will be writing Trotman soon, appealing to him to consider several reasons why he should reconvene the National Assembly so that the unprecedented No-Confidence Motion could be debated.
Ramjattan said that Granger indicated to him that he will speak with the Opposition’s Chief Whip, Amna Ally, on the matter “as she is more on the ball” with this issue. Ramjattan is expected to meet with Ally today.
Further, the AFC Leader expressed the opinion that APNU may want to write the Speaker separately on the reconvening of the National Assembly. The Attorney-at-Law also said that he believes that APNU is entitled to take such a position, in the same manner that he was entitled to seek a joint plea. “I wholly respect APNU’s position in this regard,” said Ramjattan. “We are lobbying and pleading for the same thing,” he emphasized.
APNU’s General Secretary, Joseph Harmon, was contacted by this newspaper for a reason that the coalition chose this course of action instead of a joint approach with the AFC. He responded, “I don’t understand but there seems to be some confusion. The House Speaker has already stated that he will comment on this matter after speaking with his predecessors. The Clerk of the National Assembly has already stated that the Speaker has no power in this regard.
So certain things have already been made clear and outlined. Mr. Ramjattan sent a letter to us on Tuesday and before it got to us, parts of it were already circulated in the media. But Ramjattan is free to send another letter to us for support and we would consider it, if it is that he feels that we might take another route.”
Trotman in an interview with this publication over the weekend indicated that he would feel inclined to call a sitting of the National Assembly if 51 percent of the House presented a case for such. He had made it clear that he would not call a sitting for “just seven members” and that it has to be a majority.
Vice Chairman of the AFC, Moses Nagamootoo had also commented on Granger’s reaction to his party’s letter.
“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… But, I don’t want to read too much into this for it would poison our relationship…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,” Nagamootoo had said.
While the AFC will not be able to pursue the move of a joint approach to the Speaker, the APNU in a missive to the media reaffirmed its support for the No-Confidence Motion.
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