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AFC won’t seek PPP/C help for Nagamootoo Speaker bid
Posted By Mark McGowan On December 29, 2011 @ 5:28 am In Local | Stabroek News
Although the AFC is continuing to lobby for Moses Nagamootoo to be Speaker when the new Parliament is convened, party leader Raphael Trotman yesterday insisted that it will not try to seek support from the PPP/C.
Trotman told Stabroek News yesterday that the AFC was against negotiating with the ruling party over the position of Speaker because it could have serious implications. Such a move, Trotman said, would be against the long term interests of the AFC and the parliamentary opposition as a whole. Trotman reiterated that the AFC wants the Speaker to come from the opposition benches. The other opposition party, APNU, is pushing for attorney Deborah Backer to be Speaker.
Recently, Nagamootoo told Stabroek News that the AFC should be given the speakership of the National Assembly even if it had to secure some votes from the PPP/C.
“The Speaker of the National Assembly must receive at least 51 per cent of the votes of the House so it is up to APNU to endorse the AFC’s candidate. If not, it should be open season for the AFC to solicit the votes from the PPP for its candidate,” Nagamootoo said. Nagamootoo, who served for more than 50 years with the PPP, resigned from the party and joined the AFC weeks before the November 28 polls.
Trotman indicated that Nagamootoo’s statements were not the party’s position. “Nothing comes for free,” Trotman said, while indicating that seeking the support of the PPP/C on this matter would inevitably lead to the PPP/C requesting certain favours later. The AFC, Trotman added, had campaigned on certain issues, including curbing the excessiveness and abuse by the government and has a duty to the persons that voted for the party. He said that by seeking the support of the PPP/C on this matter, it may compromise the party’s ability to rein in the PPP/C on its abuses and excesses in the future.
When Stabroek News contacted presidential advisor Gail Teixeira recently on the AFC’s lobby for Nagamootoo, she declined to comment. She had previously indicated, however, that a Speaker would selected by consensus.
APNU deputy leader Dr Rupert Roopnaraine indicated to Stabroek News last week that APNU and the AFC were closer to settling on a candidate, while indicating that the two parties hope to hammer out the issue before their next engagement with the government. Trotman also indicated that his party and APNU are still in negotiations as to who will be the nominee for the post and he said that the parties hope to settle on a nominee before they meet with government officials on Friday.
“Whoever we select should find favour with both sides of House, Trotman said. “It would be good to have the PPP’s blessings of the candidate,” he added, while saying this process is the first test for the opposition parties as to whether they can manage the responsibility given to them by the electorate in a mature and sober manner.
Meanwhile, Trotman again refuted the recent assertion by the PPP/C that by cooperating on the selection of a Speaker, APNU and AFC were being insincere about consensus-based governance. “This is varying from the practice of parliamentary democracies within the Commonwealth. In those countries it is the ruling party whose nominee gets the position while the deputy goes to the opposition. This was the practice while the PPP had the majority in Parliament as well,” the ruling party said.
Trotman, however, said that it was unfair of the PPP/C to want to control both the executive and the legislature, especially after President Donald Ramotar had rejected an offer from the opposition parties to pursue a national unity government. Trotman noted that in the past when Ralph Ramkarran was the PPP/C’s nominee for Speaker, the government never discussed it with the AFC. He said that while the party respected Ramkarran, it would not support his candidature under this dispensation.
The PPP/C for the first time since first coming to power in 1992 does not have control of the 65-seat National Assembly, after it secured 32 seats at the recent elections. The APNU and the AFC together control the remaining 33 seats.
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