Coalition talks moving “slow” between APNU/AFC – Greenidge

January 29, 2015 5:32 pm Category: latest news A+ / A-

 

By Fareeza Haniff

APNU's Shadow Finance Minister, Carl Greenidge.

APNU’s Shadow Finance Minister, Carl Greenidge.

[www.inewsguyana.com] – Chief Negotiator for A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), Carl Greenidge says the pro-democracy alliance talks with the Alliance For Change (AFC) is moving “relatively slowly.”

Greenidge told some members of the media on Thursday, January 29 that there is expected to be some “acceleration” in the coming week as discussions continue with the AFC.

He explained that the process is a difficult one but the Parties are committed to concluding the talks.

“I am hoping that in the coming week, you will see an acceleration in both the engagements and in the progress on that front. It is not an easy arena and I don’t want to give the impression that the acceleration itself will mean that you’re going to resolve the issue because coalition or alliance type talks are notoriously difficult especially where Parties are imbalanced in terms of their relative sizes in the electorate proportionately and where they have constituencies that overlap. It is something of a difficulty,” Greenidge said.

He did not want to pronounce further on the matter, citing an agreement between both sides not to prejudice the progress of the discussions.

Leader of the APNU, David Granger had noted that the coalition talks are expected to be concluded in three weeks time and that a seven member team has been appointed by the APNU to lead the discussions.

The AFC has also appointed its team, headed by General Secretary, David Patterson. Other members include Basil Williams, who is representing the Peoples National Congress Reform (PNCR), Sydney Allicock representing the Guyana Action Party (GAP), Rupert Roopnaraine of the Working Peoples Alliance (WPA), Keith Scott for the National Front Alliance (NFA) and George Norton, who will be representing APNU’s shadow Cabinet.

 

U.S. Statement at the UPR of Guyana

 

21st Session of the Universal Periodic Review
Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America

Geneva,
January 28, 2015

The United States welcomes the delegation from Guyana to the UPR Working Group.

We welcome Guyana’s voluntary commitment to hold national consultations on issues from Guyana’s first UPR session, including whether to repeal laws that criminalize consensual sexual activity between adults of the same sex.

We remain deeply concerned by continued and widespread reports of excessive violence by police officers.  Instances of police brutality, especially against those held in custody, and the slow pace of investigations and judicial proceedings foster a perception of impunity and a lack of accountability.

We are also concerned about reports of forced labor in mining, agriculture, and forestry, as well as in domestic service and shops.  We note the government’s modest progress in its efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor, but we are concerned that children are legally permitted to engage in some hazardous activities.

We note, however, the outcome of these consultations remains pending.   In addition, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community continue to face targeted acts of societal violence and harassment.  Some members reported that they were ridiculed by public officials when attempting to access medical care or file reports with the police.  We also note no one has yet been brought to justice in several high-profile crimes committed against members of the LGBT community, including the murders of transgender individuals.

Bearing in mind these concerns, we recommend that Guyana:

  1. In consultation with civil society, develop and pass legislation that decriminalizes consensual same-sex sexual conduct and take measures to ensure that hate crimes and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity are vigorously investigated and appropriately prosecuted.
  2. Amend the list of hazardous work to prohibit children under age 18 from working in all listed sectors.
  3. Increase the capacity of the Police Complaints Authority to undertake prompt and impartial investigations of police abuse so the PCA can transfer cases to justice system for prosecution as warranted.
 

Donald Ramotar, a credible presidential candidate

 

 

 

THOUGH I concurred with the confab for Donald Ramotar’s candidacy and eventually his election to the presidency, I had reservations.I worried that he was naïve, pitching a message to bridge the political divide with a rapacious Opposition whose philosophy axis’ on an obstructionist creed. Clearly, the new dispensation had been worn as a badge of honour by those relentless in dousing the economic development and aborted concession politics.

I had a disquieting feeling that he had ignored the writing on the wall, pitching a message that the political line of demarcation would give way to nation building, an illusion, given the imperious Opposition had woven a political noose.
I worried he had ventured into political appeasement overdrive against the backdrop of a vengeance raged Opposition, imploring his parliamentary nemeses to rise above the political divide, knowing it had self-inoculated against the acquired taste for compromise.
Call it naivety or bipartisan perpetual endurance on the part of the President; I felt he relied too much on redemption politics from a power intoxicated Opposition, with predatory instinct on his heels, destined to bring about political casualty.
I was right. After three years, the comprised impaired Opposition has bludgeoned progress and came close to crippling development, putting into limbo legislations, economic reforms, developmental projects, and tampered social safety nets and shredded the fabrics of democracy. But he never relents, believing that the nation’s interests would triumph personal ones, though he never had a reciprocal partner. Instead, he was gifted an arsenal of “this is how we do it” approach from a self-confessed “economic hit squad” of the Opposition.
LEADERSHIP
Despite the onslaught of anti-democratic underpinnings pivot upon obstruction, Ramotar emerged in his own organic political character, shaped and fortified by his ability to understand economic constraints, prospects and remained true to his political philosophy, with a keen sense in navigating the political culture with conviction and astuteness. In essence, Ramotar has defined his legacy in more tangible terms than is perceived, impacting on many fronts, and became the quintessence – consequential president in contemporary Guyanese Politics.
Ramotar’s character, ideals, and devotion to the Guyanese cause and struggle are well documented; his leadership abilities attested; his footprints in the sand of unwavering commitment to freedom and democracy never called into question; his patriotism, good governance, accountability and dedication to multi-ethnic/racial politics are sterling.
I will resume making the case of Ramator’s sterling leadership achievements, but I beg your indulgence to deviate to address a few unpalatable issues, emanating from the Opposition’s surrogates. Chiefly amongst the calculated mischief is the conjectured message to malign him as a burgeoning dictator, hoping that their demonising rhetoric, which failed to take root in Guyana, would now find refuge in the halls of the U.S. Congress. So far, they are the only consumers of their fermented brew.
In the other far corner are a few self-professed Jaganites, long expelled from progressive political thought, hissing from afar at what they perceived to be a departure from the founder’s ideals, lamenting the idea that the new political dispensation was a legitimate offspring. The basic premise of this argument purports an imposter in a progressive suit – an attempt at an erroneous deception. Yet these strayed political vagrants cannot account for the economic resilience and continued majority support.
Way over in the deep end, drowning in infinite pen freedom, thanks to the government’s safe-guarding, the supposedly unbiased press employs brute force to eclipse independent thinking, and maligns the populace for rejecting its political dogma; adding to this perversion are paid pundits spouting from shared narratives, incessantly orate about corrupted state, stalled economics, and even insisting the nation has reached a brink of no return, sustaining such arguments with sensationalism and innuendos.
Undeniably, the notoriously lopsided, inexpiable attacks, deprived of objectivity, have been accepted by the Government as the natural extension in upholding democratic values, though much of the maligning tactics breached decency and misdirected. For voters, however, they don’t have to acquiesce to yellow-belly journalism.
Guyanese have learned to be wary of the press and Opposition surrogates who ascribed racist motives to their behaviour and thinking, particularly when casting votes for a political party. For instance, the unprecedented attacks vilifying over fifty percent of the population as conscious racists, who aid in the systemic marginalisation of others, impaled aspersion on ordinary citizens’ freedom. What are the consequences of this character assassination? An opinion poll reveals a tantalising sneak peek.

Popular support
Recent NATCA’s opinion poll reflects the populace dissatisfaction with Parliament as to be expected and rightly so: mad as hell with the political shenanigans in Parliament at the expense of their livelihoods. Voters don’t want to hear excuses; they want action. However, voters are well-informed as the poll revealed. They are aware of the fulcrums and the missing lynchpins.
Notwithstanding the political stalemate, respondents endorsed the President’s party solidly against its rivals, and endorsed him ahead of his competition. Showing great perceptivity of the Parliamentary debacle, voters also expressed resounding vote of confidence for the President’s economic stewardship, and for the country’s chartered course for progress and development. Thus, Ramator has emerged as a shepherd with a devout flock to reckon with.
At this stage, legacy affirmation for Ramotar is not premature. Though it would spike the political blood sugar of the sycophantic- punditocracy, who would seek to dim the light on policy triumphant over longevity, it would withstand objective scrutiny as it has been the tradition of American politics where Presidents Ford, Carter and Bush (41st) served one four year term each but had legacy policy broadcast in advance of maturity and demitting office. There is no reason to deny Ramotar the same privilege.
Most importantly, however, it is not whether the President and party have scored political points, or whether the media and Opposition’s heavy-handed tactics infringed on personal rights, or intentional demonising of constituent’s choice constitutes intimidation, though valid questions, but the provoking questions are: whether lives have been positively impacted by the chartered economic course; can tomorrow’s generation stand on sound economic foundation with respect to employment, financial stability, real growth, development and higher living standard? Undeniably, the answer is a resounding yes.
First, let’s dispose of the notion that Ramotar’s Presidency lays claim to his predecessor’s agenda and he is alien to innovations. It is political absurdity. Only a political neophyte would purport such assertion, knowing that the Party’s economic endeavours are not punctuated with personalities. Rather, the enormity of projects undertaken are pipelined slated for completion and require the same due diligence at various intervals, vetted for endurance and viability.
Policies
One of the hallmarks of the President’s aggressive endeavours is the long-term commitment to mainstream the marginalised indigenous people into the fabric of the nation’s discourse, and sharing in its opportunities; on the financial front, investment confidence is running high; local financial institutions have extended its reach to the public with access to finance fueling entrepreneurial awakening.
On the foreign investment scene, the nation is a friendly investment option for investors, enjoying a swarm of foreign investments, owing to prudent macroeconomic policies, good governance and constant GDP growth over the years, notwithstanding international financial crunch; moreover, the nation escaped the most indebted nation status and elevated to middle income in a short period relative to other countries. And it is posed to make greater strides in that direction, credited to prudent economic choices; continued with rapid infrastructure development, the corner stone of development, building of roads, bridges, institutions, information technology, transportation, sea and airports, water harbours, all the aggregates that would sustain the needed development; effective sustainable management of environmental resources, environment protection consciousness, and the pursuit of renewable energy from hydropower are sensible and wise policy initiatives; the availability of house lots, access to educational institutions for advancement, coupled with needed ingredients for social development in access to portable water, subsidised electricity, sanitation, free education, student loans, free medical care, job training and skill based training, and employment creation are all evident of a well- managed micro-economic policy agenda.
On the verge of breaking records in investment and production in rice, sugar, the mining, the manufacture, agro- industrial sectors are further demonstrations of confidence in the economy from domestic and as well as foreign investors.
Poised to have greater trade and commerce with its tri- nation neighbours, the nation extended its economic reach and partnership and deepened South to South trade and relations, bringing about greater economic opportunities. These pipelined and prospective developmental projects will help provide the boost needed to find greater market shares for Guyanese commodities and fuel employment. These endeavours are not coincident.
Most importantly, real income did not regress as it did in advanced nations. Consecutive wage increases afforded to civil servants-compared with Caricom/Caribbean sister nations, which retrenched work force, stalled wages, and in some instance, forced labour concessions. This, too, is no accident but the realisation of the working class agenda.
Undeniably, Ramotar’s Presidency commenced a startling departure from his predecessors; political constrains, legislative setbacks, and recessed world economy, but yet he emerged to debunk the fallacy in the Opposition’s chorus of leadership inaptness. In essence, the fact remains that he craftily boxed the Opposition into cool storage, which they don’t yet grasp, and convincingly makes his own case for re-election as a viable and credible alternative as he did prior.
In any case, Ramotar unshackled the Opposition’s spiteful restraints and delivered as promised, achieved many gains, some major and other short term and could have done more for the nation that is ripe with possibilities but his detractors will seek to deny his successes. As the nation heads to the polls, the situation warrants the mantle of leadership and mandate to be reissued to Ramotar. Let the second coming commence.

FAIUZE ALI

 

Extracted from the Guyana Chronicle

 
Opposition Leader, Brigadier [rtd) David Granger
Opposition Leader, Brigadier (rtd) David Granger

FROM ‘*****FOOTING’ TO ‘EMPOWERMENT’ POLITICS

 

Analysis by Rickey Singh
THERE’S never a dull political moment when it comes to the antics of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) to team up with the Alliance For Change (AFC) in their desperate bid to establish a common front against the governing People’s Progressive Party (PPP) for the coming general elections scheduled for May 11 and with dissolution of Parliament soon in matter of days. The latest bit of ‘fun politics’ is that while just a week ago APNU’s vice-chairman, lawyer Basil Williams, was openly sniping at the AFC’s “*****footing” on the issue of standing firmly on a pre-

Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan, AFC Leader

Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan, AFC Leader

election coalition between the two parties, this past Friday, APNU’s chairman and PNC’s leader, David Granger, was boldly telling the media that his APNU team has been “empowered” to explore all options with its minority partner for a coalition.
Needless to say that basic information on this “empowerment” remains a guessing game. Which of the primary decision-making councils of either APNU or, more importantly, the PNC have actually authorised this “empowerment” for the coalition tango between the two?

Basil Williams

Basil Williams

When and how did this “empowerment” manifest itself, as claimed by chairman Granger, considering  that just some days earlier the party’s vice-chairman, Williams, was openly scoffing at its junior partner’s “*****footing” on the proposed  pre-election coalition?
After all, as far as publicly known, the political ‘hodge-podge’ that’s APNU could only advance arrangements for any serious pre-election coalition with the AFC, that includes LEADERSHIP consideration, once the relevant councils of the PNC first signal approval. Was this ‘signal given? If so, when and how democratically-based, including respective regional councils?

Losing no sleep
Unless Mr. Granger is not simply indulging in the proverbial ‘kite-flying’ game then he has an obligation to offer a matured information-based statement on this “empowerment” claim, as reported, in fairness to his own party, the PNCR.
After all while, as this columnist understands it, the governing PPP is losing no sleep over the touted APNU/AFC pre-election coalition, spokesmen for APNU have been seeking to keep hope alive for such a development in sharp contrast to claims and criticisms from the top and middle ranks of the AFC.
A few high profile AFC elements have even scoffed at a PNC-led coalition, while within decision-making ranks of the PNC are those who dismiss with hilarity any notion of their party being LED by someone from the AFC-irrespective of the purse-bearers. Anyway, within one week, the eligible voters for the coming May 11 elections would have noted the sharply contrasting “*****footing” swipe of APNU’s Basil Williams’ at the AFC to the subsequent claim  “of “empowerment” by his leader, David Granger, to fully explore coalition talks with that junior political ally.
As the saying goes, in party politics, all things are possible. But at the risk of being proven wrong, and ahead of the dissolution of Parliament before ‘Mashramani’ celebrations, I predict that if indeed a pre-election anti-PPP coalition does materialise, it could only be LED by what currently exists as APNU-on behalf of the PNC. To assume otherwise is to engage in political fantasy.
After all, despite the leadership stress he faces, most notably over his relationship with the crucial Region 10 PNC constituency, Mr. Granger must know that neither the young ‘turks’ nor the seasoned elders of that party would consider having the maverick AFC assume leadership of any pre-election anti-PPP coalition for the coming May 11 poll. More later.
*Rickey Singh is a Barbados-based noted Caribbean journalist.

 

extracted from the Guyana Chronicle

 

President to dissolve Parliament in early February

January 29, 2015 11:30 am Category: latest news A+ / A-
President Donald Ramotar.

President Donald Ramotar.

[www.inewsguyana.com] – Cabinet Secretary, Dr Roger Luncheon says President Donald Ramotar will dissolve Parliament in keeping with the constitution, which states that this must be done three months prior to the announced date for the polls.

May 11 has been announced as Election Day, which means Parliament will be dissolved in early February.

“In other words, you can indeed dissolve anytime, no later than before the time of polling. That is not exactly what the constitution says, it might of course be what is meant, but it isn’t exactly what the constitution says. I have accorded that and some of my colleagues agree with me, a lesser option. So you’re looking at the dissolution, three months exactly from the 11th of May….that puts you sometime around the 8th or 9th of February,” Dr Luncheon explained in response to a question at his post cabinet media briefing on Wednesday, January 28.parliament

The non-dissolution of Parliament before naming of the date for general and regional elections has caused some to question the legality of the President’s actions.

However, Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall said the President’s action was legal and done in accordance with the constitution.

President Ramotar has signed a proclamation making the date official.