…we cannot submit to this kind of bullyism and state terrorism-AFC
By Gary Eleazar
No member of the government side was present yesterday in the Chambers, when
Speaker of the National Assembly, Raphael Trotman, officially informed members of the Opposition that Head of State, Donald Ramotar, prorogued the Parliament.
In what can only be described as a somber yet assertive tone, Trotman declared that the Guyana Parliament is now the most interesting one in the region, if not in the world.
He described yesterday as the culmination of a long and arduous road filled with impediments and even impudence at times.
Quoting poet Martin Carter, Trotman said, “All are involved, all are consumed.”
Trotman reported to the House that yesterday at approximately 08:45 hours, he was informed by Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs that he was in receipt of an envelope from Office of the President.
Trotman, and Deputy Speaker, Basil Williams, then made their way to Public Buildings. By then, they saw that the President had issued a proclamation proroguing Parliament.
An extraordinary copy of the Official Gazette was later transmitted to the Speaker. “The effect of this is that we cannot proceed with the sitting that was scheduled for today (yesterday); this is most unfortunate.”
According to Trotman, “The power of the elected office of the peoples representatives has been
neutered; this is also in my opinion most undemocratic.”
He added that the illegality perpetuated by the President is compounded by the fact that no date has been set to reconvene the Parliament.
According to Trotman, the decision by the President to prorogue parliament is even more distasteful that the suspension of the Constitution in the 1950s.
What obtained in the 1950s was done by the ‘Mother Country’. On this occasion, “It is done by our own.”
Presented with an opportunity to formally respond to the decision by the President, Opposition Leader, David Granger, called on all Guyanese including civil society bodies to come out in resistance to the Ramotar’s proclamation.
“APNU will not accept this denial of democracy and will not be intimidated by the PPP/C’s dictatorial behaviour.”
APNU is resolved to resist the President’s ‘Proclamation even as Granger called on the “good people of Guyana to come out.”
Granger also called on the Churches, Masjids, Mandirs, Trade Unions, Private Sector and Non-Governmental Organisations to come out and resist the administration.
“We call for the earliest possible revocation of this obnoxious proclamation…There are people in the streets who are angry at what happened, since there was a belief of some sincerity on the part of the administration when the November 10 sitting of the House was fixed.
“Today we are greeted with a proclamation preventing the functioning of this National Assembly.”
According to Granger, the Proclamation has effectively paralysed the Parliamentary process and smothered the voices of the people’s legitimate representatives in the National Assembly.
Granger opined that the main purpose of the ‘Proclamation’ is to allow the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) to avoid parliamentary scrutiny and avoid the opposition’s ‘no-confidence’ motion.
Granger accused the administration of wanting to prevent debate on financial excesses and impropriety; protect the reputations of Ministers from parliamentary sanction; permit the PPP’s campaign for general and regional elections to proceed and to permit the continued expenditure of state funds without parliamentary scrutiny.
He was adamant that the ruling administration wants to establish a one party state in Guyana.
Denied an opportunity to spearhead the motion meant to effectively bring down the administration and force general elections, Alliance for Change Vice Chairman, Moses Nagamootoo, warned that despite the prorogation of Parliament, whenever the House is reconvened, the administration will still have to face the no confidence motion.
He reminded that there was not a single event that triggered the no confidence motion, but rather a litany of indiscretions on the part of the administration.
According to Nagamootoo, the administration had been forewarned that the violations have been so grave in nature that it would trigger a constitutional response.
He was adamant that the opposition had acted responsibly and reminded of their proposal to talk in order to resolve the many burning outstanding issues.
“No government that considers itself to be a responsible government would defy the right of the people to grass root and participatory democracy…we cannot submit to this kind of bullyism and state terrorism.”
According to Nagamootoo, by proroguing parliament, government has fled from facing the No Confidence motion and by extension the people of Guyana.
“We hope that our people are listening and paying attention and they will respond in kind to this government that has disrespected them.”
He was adamant that Government by its action has now made Guyana into the pariah of the Caribbean and possibly all of Commonwealth.
AFC Leader, Khemraj Ramjattan expressed his disappointment at the action of the President.
Ramjattan was adamant that there will be no talks, engagement or consultation with the AFC until the Government firstly reconvenes parliament and face the no confidence motion.
“Yesterday they were pro democracy but today they are pro rogues.”
A testy Ramjattan said that what the PPP is doing is playing with violence and wants to provoke the opposition into violent acts.
He used the opportunity to inform all that the AFC will be internationalizing the issue so that the world can be apprised of what is transpiring in Guyana.
Other members of the House lamenting the decision of the President, included Shadow Finance Minister, Carl Greenidge as well as Deputy Speaker, Basil Williams.
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