Differences must not jeopardise Guyana’s standing – President urges on eve of Independence

Georgetown, GINA, May 25, 2013

Saddened by the actions of the political opposition in the National Assembly since the tenth parliament convened, President Donald Ramotar on the eve of Guyana’s 47th independence anniversary said the country’s standing nationally must not be jeopardised, despite inevitable differences.

With cuts to the national budget for two consecutive years, “hijacking” of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker’s positions, and the parliamentary select committee, the business of the country has been at risk.

The latest move concerned the refusal to support amendments to the Anti – Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Bill that hinges on Guyana’s conformity with international treaty obligations.

President Donald Ramotar delivering his Independence message in the National Park

A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) argued that it was left in the dark about important consultations on the legislation and the Alliance for Change (AFC) demanded as a precondition for its support, the President’s assent to two pieces of opposition piloted legislation and the establishment of the Public Procurement Commission.

The two parties holding a combined opposition majority in the National Assembly, were unmoved by President Ramotar’s apology to APNU for the oversight, and an unprecedented appeal at the May 22 sitting for parliamentarians to complete examination of the bill to avoid Guyana losing its good standing in the regional and international bodies.

He also urged that the parties reconvene in the Parliamentary Special Select Committee and bring the Bill to the House on May 28, 2013 with a view to passing it but to no avail.

“The opposition in that committee meeting refused to entertain any date for a meeting before June 12, 2013 disregarding the negative consequences that could follow,” President Ramotar said in his address.

He also reminded the nation of the policy of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) of “putting Guyana” first even as an opposition political party.

“We evolved a strategy of Critical Support to demonstrate our determination never to put our country in harm’s way even at the most difficult time in the relationship of our parties,” President Ramotar said.

However, still optimistic of an atmosphere of political trust that is aimed towards nation building, President Ramotar once again extended the hand of partnership to the political opposition, with differences aside.

“I am ready to engage with all stakeholders in pursuit of these goals.  Tonight, I once again commit the government to working towards a brighter future for our motherland, one in which we can all live in peace, freedom, harmony and unity, and one in which our children can enjoy the promise of a fulfilling future,” President Ramotar said.

Aspects of his speech focused on the transformation Guyana has experienced over the last 20 years under the rule of the PPP/C and the accomplishments made, taking Guyana from being ranked the second lowest economy in CARICOM in 1992, to one that has recorded seven consecutive years of positive growth.

 

Reference was made to investments in the social sectors, particularly health and education, the aggressive housing drive that has given much the opportunity to be first time homeowners, rapidly emerging sectors like tourism, and major infrastructure projects that have changed the landscape of the country.

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