Opposition Leader, Brigadier (retired) David Granger said that he has exhausted all discussions with Head of State Donald Ramotar, and there will be no more talks if the country’s leader decides to prorogue the National Assembly amidst the pending No Confidence Motion hanging over his Administration’s head.
The A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) leader was at the time responding to reporters following the annual Remembrance Sunday observance ceremony held at the Cenotaph outside the Bank of Guyana yesterday.
President Ramotar announced last Tuesday evening that should the Opposition parties go ahead on the planned No Confidence Motion forwarded by the Alliance for Change (AFC), he will Prorogue or dissolve Parliament. The nation’s leader was adamant that there are more important issues that the combined opposition should be focusing on rather than bring a No Confidence Motion against the government, when the National Assembly reconvenes today.
The APNU and AFC have registered dissatisfaction at the manner in which the President is seeking to address the No Confidence Motion.
Granger told the media that the President has taken a line which he believes is “undemocratic and uncalled for.” He posited that the Parliament is “the place for rational debate to take place…if he (President) shuts it down, he shuts down debate, he must bear the consequences of that decision.”
If the President dissolves Parliament, a date will be set for national polls within three months. If he prorogues the Assembly, all Parliamentary sittings will cease and the government can govern for six months without any sittings.
Granger has noted however, that the Opposition, “can’t engage (the Administration) with a gun at our heads. This National Assembly is the forum for national debate. It is the voice of the people. I can’t see how he (President) can prorogue the parliament and expect us to have any discussion under duress. The place for discussions is the National Assembly, if he shuts it down then he shuts down discussion, he shuts down dialogue,” the Opposition Leader reiterated.
When asked about an audience summoned by the Head of State, Granger said, “I can’t see what he (President) would have to discuss with me that cannot be discussed in the National Assembly.”
The Opposition Leader believes that to prorogue Parliament is a very risky step for the President to take since according to him, citizens are “angry and fed up with the PPP (People’s Progressive Party) government.”
“The people are angry; they are angry with the Anil Gate, they are angry with the corruption they have seen over the last 22 years and the people are angry with Tuesday night’s broadcast; threatening to shut down their Parliament.”
“It’s their parliament,” Granger said, “not the PPP’s parliament. It’s the People’s Parliament.”
Granger related also that against the President’s proposed decision, there will be resistance from the APNU. “It is not something we will accept and it is not something we will encourage our supporters to accept,” Granger said.
He opined that, “This is an abomination. There is no state of emergency, national flood or catastrophe. There is no justification for shutting down the National Assembly whether for a long period or a short one. It is a denial of democracy. Democracy means that the elected representatives of the people must go to the National Assembly and discuss matters of public interest.”
When asked about forms of resistance, Granger said APNU will support whatever decision the people makes. On fears that protest could be manipulated and create ethnic divide, Granger said that he believes the people are dissatisfied and “the PPP has crossed ethnic lines already.”
He said the Opposition’s concern is not the PPP, “but the representation of the People’s interest. If they choose to protest, we will support them.”
President Ramotar told reporters also that he has decided what he will do with Parliament. While he chose not to make his intentions known, he said, “I have decided.”
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