President to re-examine future relations with political opposition

Georgetown, GINA, November 8, 2013

 

President Donald Ramotar is not as optimistic as he was at the beginning of his presidency about engagements with the main political opposition parties, and after the defeat of the much needed financial crimes legislation, he said will be re-considering relations with the opposition.

“With last night’s development, all hope is now lost that the opposition has any intention in being a partner in developing our country. It is in this context that I am forced to re-examine our Government future relationship with the opposition parties,” President Ramotar said at a press conference today.

President Ramotar had been leading talks with the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance for Change (AFC) which together holds a one seat majority in the National Assembly.

It is through these engagements with the parliamentary parties that the President and the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) administration was seeking to encourage and nurture political trust and create an enabling climate for consensus – building.

As he told parliamentarians at the beginning of the Tenth Parliament, seeking agreements by dialogue is still the best way forward, and that working in this Parliament, can contribute in building trust “that is so important for our political culture.”

In that same address President Ramotar had assured that his Government was willing to exercise patience, and reasonableness in the interest of all of Guyana’s people, but will not be held ransom to intractable postures.

But with disappointment after disappointment ensuing, hopes began to shatter with the political opposition holding the nation to ransom, and refusing to meet eye-to-eye on numerous occasions.

Their first blow came with the majority vote in favour of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker both coming from their side of the House, as well as the arbitrary takeover of the Parliamentary select committees.

Engagements with the political opposition on several issues of importance to the country, like the 2012 and 2013 National Budget and the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project (AFHP) ended unsuccessfully.

In the ongoing plan to construct the hydropower project, the political opposition was fully involved with access to confidential information and site visits, but when the time came to support key pieces of legislation necessary for the project to start, the political opposition refused.

President Ramotar said there can be no question on the Government’s commitment and pointed to numerous engagements where the Government has been the one making all the reasonable offers.

“You would recall that we had several discussions with them when we were putting together our first budget in 2012. We stuck to our side of the agreement at all times; the opposition never stuck to any of their agreements…in the budget talks we were the ones making all the compromises,” President Ramotar said.

In examining his future relations with the political opposition the President said those that are constitutionally mandated will have to be upheld.

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