WHEN presented with the real opportunity to deliver on local government elections, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) kicked it aside.
This was the emphatic assertion from Attorney-General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, in an interview with the Guyana Chronicle.
According to him, in the process of calling for local government elections and mobilising the support of local and other groups, APNU has duped the very stakeholders it reached out to. “In the process they have made a fool of everyone,” he said.
For more than two months now, APNU’s leaders and supporters have been engaged in protest action, which initially had started in different parts of the country, demanding that the Government set a date for local government elections.
The protests followed the expiration of an ultimatum given President Donald Ramotar by APNU Leader, Brigadier (rtd) David Granger. He had called on the Head of State to set a date for local government elections before September 15 or face the “mobilisation of national and international” support by the party to ensure the elections are hosted.
The deadline has passed and President Donald Ramotar subsequently announced that local government elections will be held by the second quarter of 2015.
Nandlall said, “They held countrywide meetings feeding the public with the same type of information.They lured the Stabroek News to publish a daily statement on their front page emphasising how important local government elections are. They even got the international community to jump on their bandwagon in their quest.”
COULD HAVE ENGAGED
The Attorney-General’s comments come in light of the rejection of President Donald Ramotar’s invitation for talks, following the November 10 prorogation of Parliament.
He said, “They could also have engaged the President on a date for local government elections, which they have clamoured for so vigorously and in so doing, advancing numerous arguments of how important it is for our people, national development and democracy.”
The President has always maintained that the need for dialogue was uppermost in his mind when he made his decision. Paving the way for greater dialogue among political parties, he contends, would have kept the 10th Parliament alive to address critically important issues currently before the National Assembly.
Some of these matters include: The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) (Amendment) Bill, which is currently with the Parliamentary Special Select Committee; and the second reading of the Education Bill 2014, the Land Surveyors Bill 2014, and the Broadcasting (Amendment) Bill 2014.Also among the Bills scheduled for a first reading are the Food Safety Bill 2014, and the Motor Vehicles Insurance (Third Party Risks) (Amendment) Bill 2014.Other important matters before the National Assembly include the appointment of Members to the Rights of the Child Commission (ROC) and the Women and Gender Equality Commission.
The AG bemoaned APNU’s position on talks, given the obvious merits of dialogue.
“APNU has demonstrated that they are prepared to not only mislead our people, but also the international community and taking them all on a joy ride,” Nandlall concluded.
Since the President’s move to prorogue Parliament, there have been varying sentiments from different sections of society, many being in support of the prorogation, which would facilitate dialogue in face of the current political impasse.