Ramotar to reconsider engagement with Opposition
President Donald Ramotar today said he is looking to re-examine his relationship with the opposition, but has not made it clear if this means quashing all talks with them. This follows Thursday’s decision by the opposition to deny passage of legislation against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
No sooner had the Clerk read the title of the controversial piece of legislation than it became clear the Opposition Parliamentarians had slipped up, that they were not quick on their feet.
After the Clerk read the title of the Bill, Mr Carl Greenidge, with the main Opposition APNU, stood up to request that the Bill be sent back to a Special Parliamentary Select committee for fine-tuning and then taken back to the House for a vote. The government’s chief whip, Gail Texiera, always one to notice the rules, was on her feet and found favour with the Speaker.
However, even if the Opposition slipped up, the rule could have been set aside, but the government was not willing to budge on that, even after the Speaker took time out to meet with the parties.
The government said it was willing to send the Bill back to a Special parliamentary Committee to finish up the work and address the concerns of the Opposition, but it came up with another excuse – it needed a timeline to work with, something that the opposition could not immediately provide. As a result, the government said it could not proceed, as it was tired of the same old routine. With the government unwilling to budge, the Opposition said it was left with no choice.
In a last minute plea, the Attorney General Anil Nandlall said that the opposition could agree to what was on the table, so Guyana can avoid a financial blacklist and its consequences, and then return to the House for amendments. The opposition was not prepared to entertain Mr Nandlall’s request, as they know from experience that the President has refused to assent to the Bills passed in the House with majority support, and for that matter, the President took three months to pass Local Government Bills, which were approved by both side of the House. So at the end of the day, the Bill went straight for a vote, and the conclusion was obvious.