– State Dept. gives commitment to work towards restoration of democracy
By Abena Rockcliffe
The United States Chapter of the Alliance For Change (AFC) has turned to authorities in that country for assistance
towards the “restoration of the democratic process and constitutional governance in Guyana.”
Kaieteur News was told that the body has been able to secure commitment from members of the US State Department and Congress for this cause. Commitment was given after a number of serious issues facing Guyana were made known, including the infamous recording of a conversation between Attorney General Anil Nandlall and a Kaieteur News reporter.
At a press conference held yesterday at Georgetown Club, AFC Member of Parliament Trevor Williams disclosed the extent of the party’s US Chapter’s work for the realization of a better Guyana.
He said that the work was driven by the disappointment in the President’s move to prorogue Parliament.
According to Williams, the Party’s USA chapters in Washington DC, Florida, Atlanta, New York/New Jersey and Iowa, have expressed deep disappointment with the recent suspension of the Parliament by President Donald Ramotar.
The MP disclosed that the various US chapters are meeting with major international stakeholders such as the US State Department, US Congressional Representatives and Senators, United Nations, Transparency International, OAS and other agencies, to inform them of what is happening in Guyana and to elicit, among other things, their support to publicly call on the President to restore Parliament and democracy in Guyana.
Williams said that on November 18, with the assistance of the President of the AFC Washington DC chapter, Chairman of the NY/NJ-AFC chapter, Dr. Rohan Somar, had a conference meeting with the USA Director of Hemispheric Affairs and other
officers of the US State Department.
He said that at that meeting, reasons were given as to why the AFC laid a “No Confidence Motion’ in the National Assembly against the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) government.
The MP said that the meeting heard of the failure of the Government to establish the Human Rights Commission as mandated by article 212 G of the Constitution; failure of the Government to establish the Public Procurement Commission as mandated by article 212 W of the Constitution, as well as the President’s refusal to assent to Bills passed by the National Assembly, “effectively making an elected dictatorship rather than a democracy.”
He said the “unauthorized expenditure by the Minister of Finance, who was discovered to have spent over 4.5 billion dollars from the Consolidated Fund without Parliamentary approval as required by the Constitution”, was also discussed.
Williams said that the “negotiation and implementation in secret of multi-million-dollar contracts, with benefits accruing to family, friends and favoured associates of PPP Ministers, involving, in particular, infrastructure, construction, natural resource extraction and various other projects” was also highlighted.
Also brought to the forefront was the “extensive corruption in Government, which has consistently led to Guyana’s ranking as the most corrupt country in the Anglophone Caribbean and one of the most corrupt in the world, according to data compiled by Transparency International. And the breakdown of the institutions of law and order, involving unsolved criminal activity, police brutality that has included torture of suspects, and a high level of extra-judicial killings”.
The AFC member told US officials of the “multiple infractions of the Constitution by
PPP Ministers and other high-ranking officials in government, including the recent release of a recorded telephone conversation in which the Attorney General stated that he used public finances without approval, and warned a friend of impending extra-judicial sanction against a prominent newspaper critical of the Government.”
Williams said that a series of regular meetings are planned and that the US State Department committed itself to work with all political parties to bring a peaceful political solution to the current impasse in Guyana.
Also, on November 25 another delegation met with Members of Congress.
This delegation was made up of Vice Chairman of NY/NJ chapter, Ewart Marshall, and Anita Jaikarran, MBA and NY/NJ- AFC Executive Committee Member and representatives from other diaspora group including; Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID), Center for Social Justice & Development, Center for Guyana’s Progress, APNU and PNCR.
Those persons met with US Congresswoman, Yvette Clarke and Congressman and Hakeem Jeffries.
Williams said that a wide range of issues were discussed by the delegation and AFC representatives detailed the moral and democratic decay in Guyana. He said that members of Congress asked probing questions and expressed their dismay at this constitutional breakdown in Guyana.
According to Williams, Representatives Clarke and Jeffries expressed concern about the breakdown of democracy and the Constitution in Guyana and pledged to remain engaged, and to work with other Members of Congress and the Obama Administration to ensure a restoration of the democratic process and constitutional governance in Guyana.
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