President’s main regret is Opposition’s non-cooperation – after two years in office

Georgetown, GINA, January 24, 2014

 

Responding to a question posed about his regrets thus far in his tenure as President, after having been sworn in on December 3, 2011 following national elections, Head of State Donald Ramotar said he laments the Opposition’s non-cooperation the most.

“My main regret is that we have not been able to have more cooperation, in some areas. Some political parties seem to be reluctant or incapable of moving out of their own narrow political agenda,” he told reporters today at a press conference at the Office of the President.

The President pointed to the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (Amendment) bill as one example of the unhelpful behaviour of the Opposition. “These are bills and laws that are only trying to build our legislation in line with other regional legislation… to me it is not a complicated thing,” he said.

He noted that the bill spent six months in the Select Committee and after having left, the Opposition then expressed concerns. “I had hoped that in the new Select Committee that they would work assiduously to having the bill pass, but from my reports I am having, the same type of delaying tactics are being used in order to frustrate the process,” the President said.

The AML/CFT Bill was tabled in the House in March 2013 and was subsequently sent to a select committee as per the Opposition’s request. However, the work of that committee suffered incessant delays at almost every meeting for approximately four months.

In a bid to meet the November 18 deadline that was given by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) for financial reforms, the Government was left with no choice but to conclude the committee’s work and return the Bill to the Parliament when it resumed after the recess.    However, the Opposition withheld their support in passing the Bill and it was returned to the Select Committee for consideration having been voted down.

The Opposition’s continued display of negativity was seen in their stance on development programmes that would have brought huge gains to the country. The Amalia Falls Hydro Project and the Cheddi Jagan International Airport expansion project are among some of the plans that have been dealt a blow by the opposition, through budget cut.

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