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Parliament prorogued

aa1The seven-seat Alliance for Change which pushed a no-confidence motion and forced the government to suspend the House, is vowing non-cooperation with the government following the President’s move to suspend the House.

Just after lunch today, leader of the Alliance for Change Khemraj Ramjattan, started to make out his case against the President’s decision to prorogue the National Assembly.

In a televised address to the nation, President Donald Ramotar made the expected decision – he announced a suspension of the National Assembly, ceasing all business of the House, including the No Confidence motion.

It was the No-Confidence motion, tabled by the seven-seat AFC, which the President dreaded, and hence his move to prorogue the Parliament. The No-Confidence motion was slated for almost definite passage, with the main opposition APNU vowing its support.

The No-Confidence vote would have forced President Ramotar to end his government within three months, by way of fresh general elections. However, he chose the other path, suspending the current session of the Parliament. He has up to six months to issue another proclamation resuming the sittings of the House; he has no obligation thereafter to call general elections.

The prorogation of Parliament means that all business of the House has been quashed, or wiped clean. Parliamentarians will continue to be paid their monthly salary. With the suspension of the House, the President buys  a  few months more in Office.

The suspension is not likely to last the full six months. This is because the government needs a budget approved by the National Assembly before the end of April. So, the President could order the resumption of the House so as to pass the budget. But if Ramotar and the opposition fail to meet any agreement and the opposition decides to deny support for the budget, then Ramotar would be forced to call general elections within three months.

Reacting to the decision, the sitting of the House was cancelled and Speaker Raphael Trotman denounced the move by the President.

The leaders of the two opposition parties also decried the move, starting with Opposition Leader David Granger.

AFC Parliamentarian, Moses Nagamootoo, in whose name the No-Confidence motion was tabled in the House, said that with all Opposition Parliamentarians in the House, the motion was destined for success.

His sentiments were echoed by Leader of the AFC, Khemraj Ramjattan, who said that the move to prorogue Parliament would ensure unity of the Opposition to displace the PPP from office.

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