…holds out promise of local govt. polls mid-next year
It is almost certain that Guyana may be heading into early elections with Head of State, Donald Ramotar, last
evening signaling his intentions to dissolve Parliament if the Opposition-controlled National Assembly goes ahead with its intentions to debate a no-confidence motion against the Government.
Ramotar made the announcement in a State address broadcast on the National Communications Network (NCN). He also announced that next Monday will be first sitting of the National Assembly after the recess.
The Ramotar administration, which has been facing one crisis after the next after conceding Parliamentary control in the 2011 General Elections, encountered another one in early October when the annual two-month recess ended, but there was disagreement on a date for the reconvening of the sittings of the country’s highest law-making forum.
The disagreements had to do with which party- the Speaker of the House, Raphael Trotman, or ruling Peoples Progressive Party/Civic – had the right to set the date.
The situation has been one of stalemate since then.
To compound matters, the smaller of the two Opposition entities, Alliance For Change (AFC), has signaled intentions to move a no-confidence motion against the Government side over what it says are flagrant violations.
The larger Opposition faction, A Partnership For National Unity (APNU), has also made it clear that it will be supporting AFC in the motion.
However, the President yesterday made it clear that Parliament has other issues to deal with other than a no-confidence motion. These include passage of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML-CFT) Legislation, the Telecommunications liberalization legislation; the Education Bill and its sweeping overhaul of public
education that lifts every child in Guyana, and Financial Papers providing for expenditure of public funds for development projects, and improving the welfare of the people.
Ramotar had a warning for the National Assembly if it went ahead with the no-confidence debate while the other matters are pending.
“I disclose these, my intentions, on the assumption that the post-recess sittings of the National Assembly would proceed uninterruptedly, deliberating on the urgent matters I have listed in the interest of the people of Guyana. I also wish to declare that were this not to be so, and I am provided with reasons to believe that the Parliamentary Opposition intends to disrupt Government’s business by forcing a debate on their No Confidence Motion, I resolve to respond immediately by exercising my Constitutional options to either Prorogue or Dissolve Parliament paving the way for holding of General Elections.”
The ruling party is facing its worst rating in its two decades of continuous administration. Poor relations with the media, accusations of corruption and questions over several multi-billion-dollar State projects led to a drubbing in the 2011 elections, leaving the PPP/C as a minority Government.
Yesterday, Ramotar said that now the Parliamentary recess has ended, the National Assembly must resume its deliberations to address several of those “very important matters” not completed at the beginning of the recess. New matters are also included.
With regards to the hosting of the long-overdue Local Government Elections, the President said that he has been advised that the Guyana Elections Commission will require six months to prepare for Local Government Elections under the new local Government electoral system.
“Pending further consultations with the Guyana Elections Commission on its preparations, I also now announce my intention to hold Local Government Elections in the Second Quarter of next year, 2015.”
Local Government Elections have been a sore issue for the administration, with international pressure mounting for polls to be held. The last time, elections were held were in the 1990s.
WE WILL NOT BE THREATENED OR INTIMIDATED – APNU
Meanwhile, Opposition coalition, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), late last evening responded to the President’s remarks. The following is the coalition’s statement.
“A Partnership for National Unity –APNU is extremely disappointed by the views expressed by President Donald Ramotar in his address to the nation this evening (4th November 2014). It is clear that President Ramotar is trying to intimidate the opposition by threatening General and Regional Elections and putting Local Government Elections far into the future. APNU will not be threatened or intimidated.
After deliberately delaying the post–recess sitting of the National Assembly by several weeks, APNU feels strongly that the President’s new found urgency to bring to the floor of the National Assembly “urgent matters…in the interest of the people of Guyana” to be disingenuous.
APNU views the President’s ‘threat’ to prorogue or dissolve the Parliament as a cowardly act. The Parliament is intended to be a place for debate. President Ramotar is choosing to dissolve Parliament instead of facing up to a debate on the PPP/C’s abysmal record.”
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