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Nov 19, 2014 Features / Columnists, Freddie Kissoon
The unbecoming and repellant display of diplomatic crassness of Priya Manickchand at a reception at the home of the US Ambassador on America’s Independence Day 2014, was characterized by Roger Luncheon as a feral blast. The origin of Manickchand’s feral blast was the consistent call by the Ambassador for Guyana to hold local government elections.
What are people like Manickchand and Luncheon going to do now? Look what the British High Commissioner said about the suspension of Parliament. He urged a speedy resumption and observed that “the Constitution, while it gives the President the right to prorogue Parliament, it also gives the right for the majority of MPs to dissolve the Parliament essentially and have new elections.” The diplomat went on to say that the presidential right to prorogue and the MPs’ right to dissolve Parliament aren’t mutually exclusive.
This is candid stuff. That was not all Mr. Andrew Ayre uttered. He went on; “Article 50 (of the Guyana Constitution) clearly refers to democracy in Guyana being made up of the President, Cabinet and Parliament, so it is important that we stay within the Constitution of Guyana going forward.”
What will be Ramotar’s reaction to what the High Commissioner spoke? What will be his interpretation? We don’t know what the other two diplomats that comprise the ABC countries are going to say (the ABC countries are America, Britain and Canada – not Argentina, Brazil and Chile as PPP Parliamentarian and Sports Director Neil Kumar publicly stated – such ignorance is unbelievably sordid).
Predicting their reaction should not be difficult. Any schoolboy should be familiar with the essential weakness of the presidential prorogue, and for this reason, the Canadian and American diplomats will have no alternative but to disagree with the prorogation. In suspending Parliament, Ramotar was acting on the election results of 2011 that gave him the presidency.
Those election results gave the opposition the control of the Legislature. Mr. Ramotar is refusing to accept that the parliamentary majority is an elected body. He is behaving as if he is the only elected person that has been empowered by the 2011 election results. This is what makes the prorogation obnoxious and illegal.
It is for this reason the opposition should refuse to be placated. Mr. Ramotar has suspended the Parliament that was invested with power to act under the Constitution of Guyana. It was not a body imposed by a coup. The parliamentary majority won its power in a free and fair election. It has the power to regulate its own affairs, part of which is to make Bills and if necessary, through a majority vote, dissolve Parliament.
The President of Guyana is within his right to prorogue Parliament if a minority has hijacked the House, rendered the majority ineffective, and is about to push through a putsch that will in itself override the elected presidency. None of that has happened. A majority in the House did what the Constitution empowered it to do – hold a vote of no-confidence.
The farce, charade, masquerade, pantomime and mamaguy about this prorogation are that a man and his party that did not win a majority vote in a free national election have de-recognized the 2011 election results. This is what should be at the centre of the protest. The PPP must be made to understand that the election results made it a minority government and a minority government cannot overrule a parliament where the president’s party is in the minority.
One suspects that in the coming days more reaction will be condemnatory, because of Mr. Ramotar’s de-recognition of a legal, legitimate Parliament. And equally egregious is Mr. Ramotar’s consistent explanation as to why he de-mobilized Parliament – to bring the opposition to the dialogue table. He should stop playing that record, because each time he plays it in the same breath he contradicts himself.
One cannot count the times over the past week, he said that he tried his best to get the cooperation of the opposition in the many meetings he held with them but they are obstinate. Why then does this man think that in suspending the arena this very opposition says is its stronghold, that it will dissolve their “obduracy?”
It is not only logical but commonsensical, if you are claiming that they are unwilling to compromise and your many dialogues with them were unsuccessful, why should success come now when you have angered them more deeply? Most disturbingly as the days wear on, Mr. Ramotar is going to continue on this contradictory wagon. He is going to continue to embarrass himself by repeating what lacks logic and commonsense.
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