By Zena Henry
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) – government has admitted that the prorogation of the country’s Parliament
has failed. They now seem to be “utterly convinced” that there will be no discussions between the two sides of the House outside of the National Assembly.
According to Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Roger Luncheon, government is now examining their next move, recognizing however, that General and Regional Elections seems to be rising as the most viable option.
During Cabinet’s weekly press briefing at the Office of the President yesterday, Luncheon said that, “There can be little doubt that General and Regional elections are gaining currency as a reasonable, acceptable alternative as an option to talks among the parliamentary political parties.”
He said that the government’s recognition of a “failed prorogation” comes after a response letter by Opposition Leader; Brigadier (Retired) David Granger in resistance to an invitation by President Donald Ramotar on November 18 to hold talks on the way forward outside of Parliament.
The Combined Opposition; the Alliance for Change (AFC) and A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) have repeated their position continuously, that there would be no coming together for talks between the government and the opposition during the prorogation of Parliament. Last week Luncheon said that President Ramotar was not “utterly convinced” that the opposition was serious about not talking since he insinuated that holding discussions behind closed doors was not extra-ordinary.
However, given the government’s current acceptance of a “failed prorogation”, Luncheon said that the President is left to announce his next move on the way forward. He said that the President has essentially three questions that have consumed his attention. That is, whether “prorogation itself”- on the acceptance of its failure –should be continued.
The Cabinet Secretary said it has been recognized that prorogation has failed to produce the goods of discussions, so it “cannot be justified and therefore when it will end” The second question, Luncheon continued, is that after the scratching out of prorogation from the remaining alternatives, what will be the next
option. He questioned also whether the currency of general elections is gaining points as the best alternative given that it seems, “for want of a better term- superior to the others.”
The opposition leader’s response, “provided adequate clarification,” on their position Luncheon reiterated, and the President has since communicated his disappointment via correspondence, to the Opposition head.
President Ramotar will be hosting a special press briefing come Saturday to “acquaint” the public of his “current thinking.” There is essentially no value in prolonging the prorogation and this is the time to look at alternatives, given that the closing of Parliament failed in its objectives, Luncheon reiterated.
The Cabinet Secretary refused however, to speculate on whether the President’s special press briefing would speak to any timelines for the Head of State to decide his next move or whether the country can expect the re-opening of Parliament anytime soon.
The President would be speaking to these matters, and would be the best person to address any questions following this “failed prorogation.” The Cabinet Secretary was asked also, whether the country could expect a definitive response from the President or whether he would just be acquainting the country with his ideas. Again, Luncheon said he will not speculate as to what the President will say, but reiterated that the Head of State would be the best person to answer all burning questions on the government’s new position.
On November 10 last, when Parliamentarians were supposed to return to the House and the much talked about no-confidence motion was expected, President Ramotar prorogued Parliament, essentially shutting down talks inside of the House.
He claimed that his decision came as a move to save the life and progress of the Tenth Parliament. The majority-seat opposition, along with prominent sections of the society disagreed with the decision and saw it as a means of “silencing” the masses. The President had stated previously, that should talks outside of Parliament fail, he would call General Elections.
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