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Private Sector’s formula to break Guyana’s political deadlock rejected

AFC Leader, Khemraj Ramjattan

The proposed formula by Guyana’s Private Sector Commission (PSC) to break the political deadlock caused by the almost one-month old suspension of Parliament appears set to flop because one of the opposition parties Friday remained adamant that there would be no talks with government.

The Alliance For Change (AFC), whose no-confidence motion the government has been dodging to avoid going to early elections,  ruled out participating in any talks with the government and was instead gearing up for early elections. “We want Parliament to be convened and when it’s convened, we are going to put up another no-confidence motion. We want elections,”  AFC Leader, Khemraj Ramjattan told Caribbean News Desk.

Ramjattan deemed as unworkable the PSC’s formula that includes shelving the no-confidence motion in exchange for one month of intense government-opposition negotiations to settle a number of burning issues. “The bitterness that that government has for the opposition, we feel that it is not the way and I rather suspect that it is not going to go anywhere,” he added.

The AFC Leader said that he would not be accepting the PSC’s  proposal and  his position would most likely be ratified by his party’s conference to be held Saturday at  St. Stanislaus College, Brickdam, Georgetown.

Early indications from that party have come less than one day before President Donald Ramotar was  due to brief the media Saturday afternoon on his next move. Some observers believe that the Guyanese leader would use the PSC’s initiative to buy more time in office under the guise of awaiting the opposition’s response to the business sector’s proposal. President Ramotar prorogued the Parliament on November 10- the same day that the combined opposition had planned to debate and pass the no-confidence motion and make way for fresh elections in 90 days.  While prorogation of the Parliament gives the President up to six months in office, he has pledged that if there are no talks or the discussions fail he would dissolve the law-making body and seek a fresh mandate from Guyanese.

Caribbean News Desk was told that A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) would likely adopt a similar stance when its constituent members meet to discuss the umbrella business organisation’s proposal.

While Opposition Leader, David Granger, who is also APNU’s Chairman, has welcomed the PSC’s initiative, he has held out little hope for its success. “Although I admire the energy and enthusiasm of the Private Sector Commission, this letter could well have been directed to the President alone because it is the opposition that has been knocking at the door for inclusionary democracy for the last three years … so it is difficult to see what the opposition can do so I am not sure that this initiative will go very far,” he said.

The PSC has proposed that President Donald Ramotar lift the parliamentary suspension no later than December 31, 2014 in exchange for the opposition shelving its no-confidence motion and participating in talks to be observed by business sector representatives.

The PSC has proposed that the government and opposition discuss constituting and implementing all outstanding constitutionally required commissions, passing financial papers for monies that government would have spent from the contingency and consolidated funds without parliamentary approval, agreeing to a date for long-delayed Local Government Elections, assenting of outstanding bills, and jointly preparing the 2015 and 2016 national budgets.

The AFC and APNU have maintained that they would not hold talks with government unless the Parliamentary suspension is lifted,