“Cowardly” Ramotar should face debate and not prorogue -AFC

“Cowardly” Ramotar should face debate and not prorogue  -AFC

As the Alliance For Change prepares to move ahead with it’s no confidence motion against the Government of Guyana, it is convinced that the Government will possibly try to “buy time” in office by proroguing the National Assembly. Once that is done, the Government will be able to function without the National Assembly meeting for up to six months and if when it returns, the situation remains the same, then it might want to call snap elections.

AFC Member of Parliament, Moses Nagamootoo, on Thursday told a media conference that he would not be surprised if when he  rises to move the no confidence motion, the Government through a previously prepared entry to the gazette, would bring a halt to the sitting through the direction of the President to prorogue the sitting. Nagamootoo believes the President and his Government should either face the no confidence debate or call early elections by dissolving the National Assembly. He said to prorogue the sitting would be nothing more than a “frightened government” buying time in office.

“I can anticipate that this frightened government, this cowardly government would perhaps already have a supplementary or an extraordinary issue of the Official Gazette  waiting there to announce a prorogation in order to disrupt the sitting and to prevent the motion from proceeding. I can see that as a possibility”, Nagamootoo said.

He said he has no doubt that such a move would only be a ploy to play for time. Nagamootoo said he is convinced that the Government may have already realised that it needs the time to be able to strike some sort of deal that would delay or call off the no confidence motion.

President Donald Ramotar in an address to the nation on Tuesday evening said that if the Opposition parties move ahead with the no confidence motion, he may be inclined to use his constitutional right to either prorogue the Parliament or dissolve it all together and pave the way for General Elections.

Nagamootoo said the strategy of the President and his government could best be described as “spineless” and he says the strategy  will have no place to go. He said all the government would be doing is filibustering and “running like a dog chasing its own tail” and that would indicate that it has reached a “pathetic low in its political life”.

Asked what would be the next move for the AFC and the Opposition if the President decides to prorogue or dissolve the Parliament and bypasses the debate on the no confidence motion, Nagamootoo said “if the Parliament is prorogued then you would have entered a period of extra parliamentary dictatorship”. He said that could result in a response that is not parliamentary.

Nagamootoo said the Government should deal with the seriousness of the no confidence motion and let the debate go through and not treat it like a childhood game and decide that it could “done play” when it pleases.

The AFC does not believe the government is ready to face the electorate at this time in spite of its early pronouncements just after the 2011 elections that it would be willing to call snap elections. The combined opposition parties picked up more votes that the governing party at the 2011 elections and they now hold the majority in the National Assembly.

That majority may be what the government is concerned about since with the APNU promising its full support for the no confidence motion, it would be a done deal that the motion would be passed after debate and that would force the President to call elections within a specific period.

Meanwhile, the APNU and the AFC will meet on Friday for a special  Summit of the Opposition to finalise their strategy for dealing with the possibilities of a prorogued or dissolved Parliament.

The two parties are being very tight-lipped about the possible strategies. The National Assembly meets on Monday and once the President does not dissolve or prorogue the Assembly, it is expected to move ahead with the moving and debate of the no confidence motion. This would be the first time that a Government of Guyana would be facing such a motion and the likelihood of defeat.

Filed: 6th November, 2014

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