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PPP tight-lipped on future support for non-assented opposition bills

The PPP’s Headquarters- Freedom House

PPP General Secretary Clement Rohee was Tuesday virtually mum on whether government would support opposition-sponsored bills to guarantee them a two-thirds support before they are signed into law by President Donald Ramotar.

Asked whether government would be willing to vote in favour of them, Rohee would only say “I would say when we come to that bridge we will cross it”.

Opposition Leader, David Granger has said that A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) would not support government bills if several bills approved by the opposition-controlled House are not assented to by the Guyanese leader.

They are the Fiscal Management and Accountability (Amendment) Bill, 2012; Fiscal Management and Accountability (Amendment) Bill, 2013; Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2013 and Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2012.

APNU’s position comes at a time when government is desperate to win opposition support for the passage of amendments to the Anti Money Laundering and Countering of Financing Terrorism (AML/CFT) Act before the France-headquartered Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meets later this month to decide whether to place Guyana on a global black-list of uncooperative jurisdictions.

Rohee’s less than forthright position came against the background of Granger saying that he was willing to meet with the President as early as possible to arrive at consensus and compromise

Granger has vowed that APNU would withhold support of certain bills brought to the National Assembly by the Executive until and unless the Executive gave an assurance that bills already passed by the National Assembly will be assented to or have their re-submission and passage facilitated in the National Assembly, and have the Bills to which the President has already assented operationalised without delay.

Instead, the PPP General Secretary sought to discard APNU’s stance by stating that the President could not assent to those bills because they were no longer in his possession. Rather, they have been returned to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Raphael Trotman accompanied with the President’s reasons for his refusal to assent them.
The PPP General Secretary said the matter was now in the hands of the opposition which must now indicate in the National Assembly that they wanted the Bills to be returned to the President. “Therefore, the request of the Leader of the Opposition for the President to assent to the Bills is one that is completely misplaced. The President cannot assent to Bills that are not before him,” he said.

Rohee accused Granger of making an about-turn from his position two weeks ago that APNU would support passage of amendments to the AML/CFT Act.