PPP’s trust-building formula “laughable and unworkable”

Last Updated on Monday, 9 June 2014, 20:50 by GxMedia

APNU parliamentarian Joseph Harmon

A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), whose major partner is the Peoples National Congress Reform (PNCR), on Monday called the governing Peoples Progressive Party’s (PPP) demand for trust-building concessions laughable and unworkable.

APNU frontbencher, Joseph Harmon lashed out the conditions laid down earlier in the day by PPP General Secretary, Clement Rohee saying that that formula amounted to a “non-approach”.

“Mr. Rohee is basically setting up the conditions for there to be no such conversation whatsoever,” Harmon told Demerara Waves Online News.

Four initial conditions set by the PPP to signal trust that could lead to eventual shared governance are the opposition giving the Deputy Speaker to the governing party, re-arranging representation on the parliamentary sectoral committees to reflect the number of votes won at the 2011 general elections, setting to legislative pre-condition for the passage of amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering of Financing Terrorism Act, and recognizing the constitutional right of the elected government to present National Budgets.

But Harmon blamed the PPP-Civic (PPPC) for not possibly occupying the post of Deputy Speaker. “They were so convinced that they were going to get the speakership that they did not have a deputy so the when the call was made to nominate a deputy speaker, they had an opportunity to make a nomination so there could have been consideration,” he said.

On the question of the composition of the sectoral committees, he explained that those have been constituted based on the formula laid down by parliamentary rules and in a number of cases a government representative chairs the committee.  “All that we have said is that the committee should reflect the composition of the National Assembly so there is no major change where those things are concerned,” Harmon said.

The APNU described as “the craziest thing” the PPPC’s call for no legislative pre-conditions to be attached to the passage of amendments to the financial crimes law. Harmon insisted that under the constitution, the President has an obligation to set up the Public Procurement Commission.

Government wants the Procurement Commission Act to be amended to give Cabinet the right to object to the award of contracts for goods and services.  He called on government to operationalize the Public Procurement Commission Act and go to the court to challenge its constitutionality rather than rely on the Attorney General’s advice.

Harmon did not deny that the Finance Minister enjoys a constitutional right to present the National Budget, but he stressed that it is the opposition’s right to review it.

Harmon said Rohee’s demands would not cultivate an environment to build trust. “The conditions which he has set are impracticable,” said the APNU lawmaker.

Instead, Harmon wants the PPPC administration to ensure that there is good governance in managing the affairs of the country rather than foist Rohee’s  “power-grabbing” recipe on Guyanese.

Good governance, he says, guarantee the independent functioning of the legislature, judiciary and the Executive to avoid corruption and disrespect for the rule of law. “We cant have this kind of cowboysim where the government feels it is my way or the highway.”