President Donald Ramotar on Sunday told Guyanese living in the New York area that it is either the Opposition parties back home want Local Government Elections or National Elections and they cannot get both.
Speaking at a town hall meeting in Brooklyn, the President sought to address the issue of the calls for Local Government Elections which have not been called by the PPP Civic government since 1994.
He said while the Opposition Leader is pushing for Local Government Elections and has been writing him about Local Government Elections, he has also been saying that he intends to support the Alliance For Change’s No Confidence motion in the government and Granger cannot have it both ways.
The President told the Brooklyn meeting that “Mr. Granger wrote me a letter and told me that I should set a date for local government elections but the next day the gentleman went ot a press conference and said that he is 100% behind supporting the no confidence motion. Well, my mother use to say you can’t have it in cake and want it in bake. You can’t have it both ways, you have to make up your mind what you want, because local government elections and national elections cannot be held together”.
The President said the Leader of the Opposition needs to make it clear to him whether he wants Local Government Elections or National Elections.
President Ramotar also admitted to the Brooklyn audience that he did promise that while on the campaign trail back in 2011 that once he got into office he would have called Local Government elections soon. He said at the time he did not anticipate that his People’s Progressive Party would have ended up with the minority in the National Assembly.
“I campaigned and promised people that once we win the next elections, we will have local government elections very very quickly, that is true, but I did not anticipate that we would have a one seat minority in the Parliament and that created political uncertainty in the situation and in the body politics of the country”, Ramotar said.
He also told the gathering that the Opposition parties through their majority in the National Assembly wanted to transfer most of the local government powers from the Local Government Ministry to a Local Government Commission and he could not have allowed such a move.
The President has refused to sign all of the Local Government Amendment Bills into law that were passed by the Opposition led National Assembly.
On Friday, Opposition Leader David Granger said it is time for Guyanese to stand up and let their voices be heard about the need for Local Government Elections. He said there was nothing confusing about the calls for Local Government Elections and his party’s support of the No Confidence motion.
According to the APNU Leader, his party has been leading the calls for local government elections and it will throw its full support behind the AFC motion when it is tabled in the National Assembly. He said pushing for both has to do more with sequence and there is no jostling for a position.
He had written to the President pressing him to set a date for local government elections by Monday September 15, 2014. The President ignored the ultimatum and said he does not need to be reminded of his responsibilities as Head of State.
However, one day after Granger addressed the nation and called for Guyanese to employ all lawful means to press the administration for local elections, the President said he was ready to talk to the Opposition Leader about the Local Government Elections and all other issues of national importance.
Filed: 21st September, 2014.