Prorogation is a British Legacy -Foreign Minister

Prorogation is a British Legacy -Foreign Minister

Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett is not happy with recent statements by the United Kingdom about the ongoing prorogation of the Guyana Parliament. And she has stated that it is ironic that the British government is expressing worry about the prorogation in Guyana when it is the British who has the prorogation legacy.

In a Facebook post, the Foreign Affairs Minister said “Ironically “prorogation” – is the legacy of the British and there must have been a good reason for it. Or is it that some can use it and others can’t?”

The British government has called for the President to end his suspension of Parliament since the absence of a functioning parliament lends to the absence of a functioning democracy.

But the Guyana Foreign Minister has fired back and said President Ramotar acted in keeping  with the constitution of Guyana and had done nothing wrong.

She wrote “President Ramotar did not commit an illegality. He acted in keeping with the Constitution and has already said a date for elections will be announced shortly. Guyana has already alerted the Commonwealth that we will be requesting an observer Mission. The HC cannot be so unaware.”

At a Monday morning press briefing, the British High Commissioner said there could be possible sanctions by the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth for Guyana not sticking to the Commonwealth Charter which focused on democracy and a recent Declaration that was signed onto by Commonwealth Leaders including President Ramotar.

Minister Rodrigues-Birkett said “the threat of sanctions from the High Commissioner is not new. That very threat was made regarding Local Government Elections. Yet when a date by which the elections was slated to be held was announced by President Ramotar, it appeared no longer important enough to encourage the other parties to work together to see it materialize. That threat was also not that veiled when Guyana voted a particular way on an issue at the UN. Of course we were vindicated on the latter with recent developments.”

The Foreign Affairs Minister said small developing countries have to always remind themselves “of this type of colonization that continues even as we try to consolidate our traditional relationships while forming alliances with like minded States in order to raise our standard of development.”

She said it would unkind for the British High Commissioner to compare the Guyana situation to the situation that took place in Fiji which resulted in that country being suspended by the Commonwealth. At his press conference, the British High Commissioner did not compare the Guyana situation to the situation that took place in Fiji but he however, used the Fiji situation as an example of the sanctions that the Commonwealth would employ.

High Commissioner Andrew Ayre also said that the British Government will be reexamining how it deals with development funds for Guyana. He said with no parliament in place, there is no parliamentary oversight and it would be difficult to justify the UK sending its money here.

President Donald Ramotar prorogued the Parliament of Guyana back in November 2014. Though he has declared that the prorogation did not provide the result he wanted, he is still to name a date for national elections as promised.


Filed: 13th January, 2015

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