By Kiana Wilburg
Among other measures, Private Sector Commission (PSC) Chairman, Ramesh Persaud has suggested that the Opposition
resist for just one month, the temptation to table its imminent No-Confidence Motion in order to facilitate meaningful dialogue when parliament is reconvened.
But the political opposition, particularly the crafters of the motion, being the Alliance For Change (AFC) is adamant that once the prorogation period comes to an end and the House is returned to a state of normalcy, it will move ahead with its motion.
According to the Vice Chairman of the AFC, Moses Nagamootoo, “We just don’t see a way forward without the No-Confidence Motion appearing in the National Assembly.”
Leader of the party, Khemraj Ramjattan sang a similar tune as he told this publication yesterday that the AFC will not hold off and will move ahead with its motion once the opportunity presents itself.
Personally, Ramjattan said that he will not sign on to the Commission’s proposal but as a collective, that position he said, will be decided and announced today at its National Convention which will be held at St. Stanislaus College on Brickdam.
Opposition leader David Granger did not reject the proposal by the Commission; he told the media that he is sympathetic with the entity but the measures it outlines have all been tested by his coalition, bearing no positive results.
The Leader of the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) said, “It’s an interesting initiative but my first reaction before I consulted with my colleagues in the Shadow Cabinet, was that the main points made by the Commission were exhaustively dealt with in the meetings with the President…We met the President in February and these were the matters we discussed.
We met the President in June and then in October, so actually the President has successfully prevented serious discussions and resolutions of these issues for the last nine months. Everything that the Private Sector Commission wrote about was on the President’s table for the last nine months. Nobody could tell me now that I must go and talk to the President about elections. I have written and I have been picketing for eight weeks. So although I am sympathetic with the Commission, these issues have been covered exhaustively by the President…Everything we have talked with him (Donald Ramotar).”
The PSC recently proposed a number of measures to end the current Parliamentary gridlock in addition to calling for the work of the National Assembly to resume by or before year end.
To avoid the No-Confidence Motion, the Head of State suspended the Parliament for six months on November 10. The President had hoped that the prorogation season would have encouraged the opposition to use good judgment and engage in dialogue. But it did not. Instead, the joint opposition has maintained that it will not speak with the government on any matter once Parliament is prorogued. The move by Ramotar was deemed as “dictatorial” by the Opposition leader.
After much consultations with various civil society organizations such as representatives of Labour and Religion, the Commission recommends that the politicians can make the first step towards solving the problem by the signing of an agreement which says that the prorogation of Parliament will be ended and the work of the National Assembly will be reconvened no later than December 31.
In the spirit of inclusionary democracy, the signing of that agreement will mean that representatives of civil society will be allowed to observe the dialogue process in full.
The Commission also suggested that several matters be addressed during the period of the suspension. These include the composition and implementation of all outstanding commissions required by the Constitution, and an agreement on a date for Local Government Elections some time before the life of the 10th Parliament comes to an end.
Also, the PSC asked that the mechanism by which the Bills not receiving assent can be resolved, as well as a mechanism for approval of the 2014 supplementary financial papers and statements of excess.
It also asked for an inclusionary mechanism for budget talks of 2015 and 2016 be discussed as well.
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