Cierre del Parlamento en Guyana: oposición llama a protestas y sindicatos defienden la medida
Sociedad civil apoya prorroga de sesión parlamentaria de Guyana
Miembros de la sociedad civil apoyaron la medida adoptada por el presidente Donald Ramotar de prorrogar la décima sesión del Parlamento de Guyana para evitar una moción de censura de la oposición.
En medio de acusaciones en curso por los partidos de oposición en Guyana sobre una supuesta corrupción generalizada y el hecho de no celebrar elecciones locales desde 1994, Ramotar suspendió la víspera la sesión del Parlamento para impedir un voto de no confianza por parte de la Alianza por el Cambio (AFC) y de la Asociación para la Unidad Nacional (APNU, por siglas en inglés).
Ambas agrupaciones opositoras tienen la mayoría de los escaños en el Parlamento de 65 miembros de Guyana y, por tanto, podrían derrocar al Gobierno.
Esta hubiera sido la primera vez en la historia de Guyana desde su independencia que una moción de censura se dirige contra una administración.
Ramotar en cambio justificó su acción con el interés de llegar a un acuerdo con la oposición.
Entre los que hicieron públicamente sus puntos de vista estuvieron el capitán Gerald Gouveia y el dirigente sindical, Carvil Duncan, quienes expresaron su confianza en que el presidente actuó dentro del marco de la Constitución de Guyana.
Duncan, quien es el presidente de la Federación de Sindicatos Independientes de Guyana, el mayor bloque de los gremios, señaló que desde el punto de vista laboral, la Constitución ha sido utilizada para el bien nacional como debe ser.
El pasado 6 de noviembre el gobernante declaró que si la oposición continuaba con su moción de censura, podría celebrar elecciones generales anticipadas para el segundo trimestre del próximo año.
En ese momento advirtió que en ejercicio de sus opciones constitucionales, prorrogaría o disolvería el Parlamento, allanando el camino para la realización de los comicios si la derecha insistía en embestir su administración.
Al respecto expresó que las fuerzas de oposición tratan de perturbar el orden e intentan frenar el Gobierno al forzar el debate sobre la Moción de No Confianza en el gabinete.
Recordó que existen proyectos de leyes en la Asamblea Nacional dirigidos al desarrollo del país que están detenidos por parlamentarios opositores, como es la aprobación de la legislación contra el lavado de dinero y la lucha contra la financiación del terrorismo.
Citizens reject Opposition’s “mass protest” calls
It was business as usual on Tuesday as the majority of Guyanese chose to ignore strident calls made by the combined Opposition parliamentary parties for them to support “mass protests” and be part of an “aggressive rejection” of President Donald Ramotar’s decision to prorogue sittings of the National Assembly.
While quite a few Guyanese expressed disappointment over the President’s decision, a solid majority of those who spoke with this publication accepted that he acted in their interest and after the lack of compromise on the part of the parliamentary Opposition.
“I do not have time to protest. Let the APNU [A Partnership for National Unity] and AFC [Alliance For Change] try deh. I am a single parent and I have to look after my family. I not supporting any unrests and violence,” Narissa Parker told Guyana Times.
Another Guyanese, Mark Singh explained that he was disappointed that President Ramotar prorogued Parliament, as he was looking forward to seeing the Government defend its track-record in light of all of the scandals facing the Executive.
“But I will not join any protest and I am not going to support the APNU’s call to the streets. I believe things are far better in Guyana today and I will work very hard to ensure that my family feels safe and secure here. I got scared when I heard Granger and Ramjattan start with this stupidness again,” he explained.
Other Guyanese also voiced their concerns over the situation at the parliamentary level, but explained that they support a peaceful resolution to the problem.
“What is wrong with talking to each other and resolving things in our interest? Is sheer politics, the Government and Opposition playing but it’s none of my business? All I know is that Debbie and she children not joining no protest line this time round,” 49-year-old Debbie Mars told Guyana Times on Tuesday.
In fact, a large section of the populace in Essequibo, Linden, Berbice and Georgetown appeared concerned over the calls made by APNU and the AFC to resist the President’s decision.
Some Guyanese explained that they have no interest in supporting Granger’s decision to call a No-Confidence Motion against the Government.
Others maintained that while they wanted the Government to become more transparent, accountable and corruption-free, they would not tolerate any sort of instability and street marches held by the APNU and its alliance partner the AFC.
“These are different times. I don’t think anybody want to make the country ungovernable. As a Guyanese I want the President and Opposition to talk. I do not support mass protests,” James Mc Pherson insisted.
Meanwhile, a majority of the businesses approached by this newspaper for a comment said that they are saddened by the behaviour of the political Opposition and the irresponsible statements made by some of the leaders.
Others say the calls made by APNU and the AFC for mass protests or to support such an avenue are anti-business and anti-development.
One business owner said should she suffer any loses in sales or any attempt is made to breach the integrity of her business, she will blame it on the opportunistic attitude of the Opposition parties.
“Now is not the time. Now is not the season. Things good and business good. The Opposition want create trouble and I am not supporting them.”
When contacted on Monday, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds told Guyana Times that President Ramotar met with civil society and other stakeholders to discuss the rationale behind his decision.
Hinds said the meeting took place at the Office of President, Shiv Chanderpaul Drive, Georgetown.
While not disclosing those who were part of the meeting, Hinds said the turnout was good, as there was representation from a wide-cross section of society.
He explained that the meeting apart from focusing on the President’s decision to prorogue Parliament also explored avenues that can be taken to move the country forward.
Asked whether the Government would be approaching the Opposition to engage in talks, Prime Minister Hinds said while it is the Government’s intention to do so, given the current atmosphere, it is unlikely that talks will begin soon.
On Monday, both the AFC and APNU vowed to resist the President’s proclamation.
“APNU calls on all the good people of Guyana everywhere to join in a civil movement for the restoration of Parliamentary democracy by peacefully resisting the resort by the PPP/C [People’s Progressive Party/Civic] to dictatorship,” Opposition Leader David Granger said on Monday.
But it was AFC Leader Khemraj Ramjattan who in his message to the people sought to incite violent protests.
“They are playing with violence,” Ramjattan warned as he addressed the Speaker, the Opposition and the press in the Parliament Chambers.
He added: “We have to ensure that their action must have a reaction,” promising in part to ensure that the prorogation of Parliament here is “regionalised and internationalised”.
Prorogation of Parliament…OAS urges earliest resumption
Head of State Donald Ramotar. Calling for the earliest resumption of parliamentary debate, the OAS is the first international body to express its views pertaining to the matter.
In the face of a no-confidence motion against the Ramotar Administration, the President has chosen to use his constitutional power to suspend Parliament. This is permitted for six months.
In a press statement from the Washington, USA-based organization, the Secretary General of the organization, Jose Miguel Insulza, took note of Proclamation by President Ramotar to prorogue the Tenth Parliament.
The Secretary General said that in a democracy, an efficient functioning of the Parliament allows for the voice of the people to be heard. He said that it also allows for checks and balances.
The organization’s representative expressed that, “the prorogation of the Parliament of Guyana issued by President Ramotar has occurred within the framework of the country’s constitution.” However, “since the last elections in November 2011, Guyana has had a split governance system with the executive controlled by one party and the combined opposition having the majority in Parliament.” This situation, it was pointed out, “presents both challenges and opportunities for all parties in Guyana to work together for the greater good of the country.”
“In light of this reality,” the Secretary General said, he “urged both the governing and opposition political parties to redouble their efforts to reach an understanding and compromise on the major political and socio-economic issues facing the country.”
Secretary General Insulza thus hoped that parliamentary debate could be resumed in the 10th Parliament in the shortest possible period of time.
The OAS or OEA is an inter-continental organization founded in 1948, for the purposes of regional solidarity and cooperation among its member states. The OAS members are the 35 independent states of the Americas.
President Ramotar in a public address said that his decision to prorogue the Parliament was his only option to deal with the no confidence motion that was put forward by the Alliance for Change (AFC) and supported by A Partnership for National Unity (APNU).
The two parties were preparing to vote against the government, as all 33 opposition members appeared in the National Assembly on Monday. Opposition leader David Granger described the prorogation of parliament as a means of silencing the population, denying their representatives the opportunity to relate the people’s concerns.
Protest action by both the AFC and APNU took place outside Parliament Building on Monday following the government’s announcement. None of the government Ministers turned up for the Parliamentary sitting. The AFC has already expressed its disgust at the President’s action, while both parties have related that the action by the president has obstructed all forms of discourse.
The opposition leader had stated a day before the President’s announcement that there will be no talks if the government should shut Parliament’s doors. The Administration is hoping however that the opposition will come to the discussion table, with the intent to discuss the motion.
A no-confidence vote against the Ramotar’s minority regime would be the first in Guyana’s history. It is being peddled that to save themselves from embarrassment and from discussing the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) government “poor” track record thus far, “they have taken the easy way out.”
President briefs diplomatic community on decision to prorogue Parliament
THE local diplomatic community was briefed by President Donald Ramotar yesterday afternoon at the Presidential Complex in Georgetown. The Guyanese Head of State informed the foreign representatives of his decision to prorogue Parliament, and provided them with copies of the Address he gave to the nation along with the Official Gazette in which the proclamation to prorogue is published.President Ramotar updated the officials on the current state of Parliamentary affairs and clarified Government’s position and the way forward, within the country’s constitutional framework.
During President Ramotar’s national address on November 4, he indicated Government’s desire for the National Assembly, in its post-recess sittings, to deliberate and give priority to important matters. He said these were related to “the development of our country and the future of all of our people. I also extended a hand to the Opposition for us to put the nation’s business first rather than political gamesmanship”.
He added that were he to be provided with reasons to believe that the Parliamentary Opposition intended to disrupt Government’s business by forcing a debate on their No Confidence Motion; he resolved to respond immediately by exercising his Constitutional options to either prorogue or dissolve Parliament paving the way for the holding of general elections.
The President explained that his administration will use the time during the period of prorogation to continue to engage the Parliamentary Opposition in constructive ways.
The high-level meeting was attended by representatives of the diplomatic community, along with senior Cabinet officials.