– calls for reconvening of parliament without delay
President Donald Ramotar cannot be allowed to disrespect the Guyanese people and just bribe them with an announcement that he will, at some point early next year, name a date for General Elections. If the nation is appeased by this announcement it is therefore allowing the President to side step the real issue.
This is the view of the Guyana Trade Union Congress (GTUC) as reflected in a statement given to the media yesterday.
The GTUC called on all political parties, civil society and every Guyanese to hold President Ramotar accountable and demand respect for the nation’s institutions and the will of the people.
The body said that the manner in which the Parliament has been prorogued and the continuation of this proclamation on the promise that elections will be held next year is a reflection that the Executive has no regard for the Constitution.
On Saturday, the President announced that, even though his attempt to have dialogue with the Opposition during the period of prorogation has failed, he will not undo his actions and allow the National Assembly to get ahead with “business as usual”.
He announced that he had therefore made a decision to go to the polls next year. Ramotar did not announce a date upon which General Elections will be held but said he will do so next year.
GTUC said that what President Ramotar has done by saying to the nation that there will be elections next year must be seen as a deceptive act to remove the pressure on him to lift the prorogation.
It was noted that the offer for elections does not absolve the President from “the violation of the spirit and intent of the Constitution in his application of prorogation Article 70 (1).”
GTUC urged that citizens up their activism and have the President reconvene the National Assembly, “because the issue before us is the non-functioning of the nation’s highest democratic organ and decision-making forum (Article 50).”
“For us as citizens to resign ourselves that elections will be called when the Constitution is being violated, is to abrogate our sovereignty (Article 9), our responsibility to ensure government operates by respecting laws and our rights,” said GTUC.
The umbrella union body pointed out that the opportunity to govern is a privilege not a right and said that the population must ensure President Ramotar respects this.
The GTUC said that the prorogation of the Parliament is indeed a violation of the spirit and intent of the Constitution “and this continues to be the issue before us. It is therefore ill-advised to yearn for the president to name a date for elections which would be giving him a pass for the abominable act committed by him on the people. Once prorogation stands, the offer for elections is inconsequential.”
The GTUC pointed out that the offer to have elections next year cannot be seen as a replacement to the National Assembly being allowed to function.
GTUC said that the Parliament must be allowed to function, since it is a representation of the people. “Thus, to succumb to the offer of elections in 2015 is to allow ourselves to be hoodwinked by the President given that the issue before us is the immobilising of the National Assembly” said the GTUC.
GTUC said that the failure to hold the President accountable to reconvene the National Assembly is tantamount to partnering with him and his administration to entrench dictatorship.
It made specific note that it “cannot and will not tolerate this serious violation of our supreme law and the abuse of the will of the people. The GTUC calls on President Ramotar to reconvene the National Assembly without delay.”
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