Guyana’s 10th Parliament at a “Deadlock”
Guyana’s 10th Parliament is but a few months into its five-year life, but there has already been a declaration of “deadlock.”
This is the view of veteran politician and the highest ranking member of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) which forms the second highest arm of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine.
The APNU Executive Member, during a recent interview said that Guyana’s Parliament is clearly at a ‘deadlock’ and it is time to bring the people back into the fray, en masse.
Dr. Roopnaraine drew reference to the fact that Head of State Donald Ramotar has already signaled consternation to assenting to any of the Opposition piloted legislations and the Government has already signaled its refusal to adhere to Parliamentary Resolutions by the Opposition.
Asked about the Alliance For Change (AFC) Khemraj Ramjattan’s proposal that the disciplinary avenue of the Parliamentary Committee of Privileges be utilized, Dr. Roopnaraine drew reference to the fact that even this Committee is limited, in that it could only make recommendations to the House.
Dr. Roopnarine has conceded that there is no real sanction that the opposition can place on the Government.
He said that it must be realized that ever since the results of the elections were declared and APNU did not secure the national government it was looking for, then it was never really in a position to force the executive to adhere to any of its demands.
Dr. Roopnaraine said that the Opposition will be pushing its demands and hopes that the government realizes that the old way of doing things has changed.
He said that he is optimistic that the accumulation of demands will soon take its toll on the administration but stressed that this will be done in conjunction with Extra-Parliamentary action.
Dr. Roopnarine said that with the masses working in conjunction with the parliamentary opposition, then work on the demands can be accelerated.
The Combined Opposition’s limited clout as it relates to forcing the administration to adhere to its Parliamentary demands stuck out prominently during the vote regarding APNU’s motion on State Assets.
Carl Greenidge’s motion on National Assets, in particular those controlled by the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), is seeking to have Parliament approve a Resolution directing the Ministers of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh and Bishop Juan Edghill to make monies available from the coffers for an independent audit of NICIL.
The Parliamentary Resolution is also designed to direct Dr. Singh and Edghill to hand over forthwith, a number of pertinent records and policies on the state assets that have been disposed of/sold by the Government through NICIL.
That debate is currently on hold but this publication has been reliably informed that the Ministers and Guyana Government have no intention of adhering to the Parliamentary Resolution.
A senior government functionary has already said that there is absolutely nothing that compels the government to abide by the Parliamentary Resolution.
In anticipation of this move by the government, the Alliance for Change (AFC) is already streamlining disciplinary measures and its Chairman, Ramjattan, has indicated that should Ministers Dr. Singh or Juan Egdhill fail to adhere to the Resolution to probe NICIL then he will immediately move with a proposition calling for disciplinary action at the level of the Committee of Privileges.
House Speaker Raphael Trotman has already indicated that it would be a ‘wait and see’ situation as it relates to the Government’s adherence of the Parliamentary Resolution.
Trotman had said that adherence to the Resolution will indeed test the ‘efficacy and legitimacy’ of the 10th Parliament.
“I can’t speak specifically to any single motion, but the Parliament is the highest forum of the land and its Resolutions ought to be respected and adhered to by all.”
The Speaker argues that the Parliament is ‘quasi-judiciary’ and as such the rules of the House are meant to be adhered to.