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President Ramotar to suspend Parliament- govt minister

President Donald Ramotar

In the first strongest hint ever, a government minister on Saturday announced that President Donald Ramotar is expected to suspend the Parliament on Monday to avert debate on an opposition-sponsored no-confidence motion.

The state-owned Government Information Agency (GINA) quoted Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud as saying that the Guyanese leader would press the “reset button” in an effort to resolve a number of critical issues with the opposition.

Persaud reasoned that prorogation by the Guyanese leader would herald in a cooling off period between government and the opposition- A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC). “We can continue discussions and deliberations…and have things done, have the people’s business addressed. As it were the ball is in the opposition’s court.”

The minister’s comments are the first official indication from the government that the President would suspend the operations of Parliament rather than dissolve it and call early general elections in 90 days. If the President prorogues Parliament for the full six months, it means that the 2015 National Budget cannot be tabled and passed by the House.

The suspension or prorogation of the Parliament means that all Bills, Motions and work of sector and parliamentary select committees will ‘die’. They include the Telecommunications Bill that would have resulted in the liberalization of the telecommunications sector, and the controversial Anti Money Laundering and Countering of Financing Terrorism (AML/CFT) (Amendment) Bill.

But Opposition Leader David Granger has contended that the suspension of Parliament would allow the government to go on a spending spree in a bid to woo much needed votes amid a series of scandals.

While Granger conceded that the President enjoys a legal right to prorogue or dissolve the Parliament, he flayed him for abusing it by cowardly avoiding a debate on the no-confidence motion.

The AFC introduced the motion and successfuly secured APNU’s support for its passage, citing misuse of the State’s Treasury, alleged corruption and poor performance.