Democracy has been put on hold in Guyana -UK Foreign Minister

Democracy has been put on hold in Guyana   -UK Foreign Minister

The Government of the United Kingdom through its Foreign Minister on Thursday officially expressed its concern over the ongoing prorogation of the Guyana Parliament. The Parliament was suspended by President Ramotar in November and there appears to be no move by the President to lift the suspension.

UK Foreign Minister Tobias Ellwood in a statement called for earliest possible resumption of Parliament as required by Guyana’s Constitution.

“The UK Government views with concern the continued prorogation of Parliament by His Excellency President Ramotar and calls for its earliest possible resumption. Parliament is required by Guyana’s Constitution and the Commonwealth Charter, it provides the necessary checks and balances and enables citizens’ voices to be heard”, Mr. Ellwood said from his UK office.

He added that “the suspension of Parliament therefore means that an essential element of a functioning democracy has been put on hold.”

The United Kingdom has also been raising concern about the absence of local government elections in Guyana for over 20 years. The UK Foreign Minister also expressed that concern in his statement.

“We also continue to have concerns that there have been no local elections for over 20 years, which is also contrary to the democratic principles of the Commonwealth Charter and Guyana’s own Constitution”, Ellwood noted.

The Foreign Minister also said that his government would like to see solutions found to deal with the issues affecting the country. He said “the UK calls on all stakeholders to seek solutions to the political and socio-economic challenges facing Guyana so that the country can develop in a fair, democratic and equitable way.”

A number of local and international groups have criticised the President over his decision to prorogue the parliament. Back in December, President Ramotar told a media briefing that the prorogation had failed to bring about his desired result of discussing issues with the opposition. He said it was time for Guyanese to head to the polls for early elections. He promised that he would be announcing a date for the elections early in 2015.

There was no mention of the elections date in the President’s New Year’s address and he has not indicated when he will make the announcement.

The Opposition parties in parliament have accused the President of silencing the population by his decision to prorogue parliament. The Opposition parties, Alliance For Change and A Partnership for National Unity hold the combined majority in the House.

The President said he decided to prorogue the parliament in an effort to block a no confidence motion against his government that was being moved and supported by the Opposition.

Filed: 8th January, 2015

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