The Organization of American States (OAS) has expressed concern pertaining to the recent prorogation of Parliament by
Head of State Donald Ramotar. Calling for the earliest resumption of parliamentary debate, the OAS is the first international body to express its views pertaining to the matter.
In the face of a no-confidence motion against the Ramotar Administration, the President has chosen to use his constitutional power to suspend Parliament. This is permitted for six months.
In a press statement from the Washington, USA-based organization, the Secretary General of the organization, Jose Miguel Insulza, took note of Proclamation by President Ramotar to prorogue the Tenth Parliament.
The Secretary General said that in a democracy, an efficient functioning of the Parliament allows for the voice of the people to be heard. He said that it also allows for checks and balances.
The organization’s representative expressed that, “the prorogation of the Parliament of Guyana issued by President Ramotar has occurred within the framework of the country’s constitution.” However, “since the last elections in November 2011, Guyana has had a split governance system with the executive controlled by one party and the combined opposition having the majority in Parliament.” This situation, it was pointed out, “presents both challenges and opportunities for all parties in Guyana to work together for the greater good of the country.”
“In light of this reality,” the Secretary General said, he “urged both the governing and opposition political parties to redouble their efforts to reach an understanding and compromise on the major political and socio-economic issues facing the country.”
Secretary General Insulza thus hoped that parliamentary debate could be resumed in the 10th Parliament in the shortest possible period of time.
The OAS or OEA is an inter-continental organization founded in 1948, for the purposes of regional solidarity and cooperation among its member states. The OAS members are the 35 independent states of the Americas.
President Ramotar in a public address said that his decision to prorogue the Parliament was his only option to deal with the no confidence motion that was put forward by the Alliance for Change (AFC) and supported by A Partnership for National Unity (APNU).
The two parties were preparing to vote against the government, as all 33 opposition members appeared in the National Assembly on Monday. Opposition leader David Granger described the prorogation of parliament as a means of silencing the population, denying their representatives the opportunity to relate the people’s concerns.
Protest action by both the AFC and APNU took place outside Parliament Building on Monday following the government’s announcement. None of the government Ministers turned up for the Parliamentary sitting. The AFC has already expressed its disgust at the President’s action, while both parties have related that the action by the president has obstructed all forms of discourse.
The opposition leader had stated a day before the President’s announcement that there will be no talks if the government should shut Parliament’s doors. The Administration is hoping however that the opposition will come to the discussion table, with the intent to discuss the motion.
A no-confidence vote against the Ramotar’s minority regime would be the first in Guyana’s history. It is being peddled that to save themselves from embarrassment and from discussing the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) government “poor” track record thus far, “they have taken the easy way out.”
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