PNCR to continue Parliament boycott
January 24, 2003
The PNCR has reasserted that it will not return to the National Assembly until the government demonstrates its intention to make it a functioning body according to the constitution and implements decisions from last year’s Hoyte/Jagdeo dialogue.
In an advertisement in yesterday’s Stabroek News the PNCR says that until the constitutional amendments related to parliament are implemented it “will not meet regularly and (the) interests of the nation will be treated shabbily”, and that “in such circumstances, Parliament is a complete waste of time and will remain a puppet show.”
As a consequence the party calls on the government to complete the implementation of the dialogue decisions and to publish a fixed timetable for implementation and completion.
The government has said that many of the outstanding decisions have been implemented. The stalemate on the parliamentary committees and other bodies however remains.
The Social Partners have been trying to break the impasse between the two parties.
The impasse between the two parties has among other effects hindered appointments in the judicial service and police.
The advertisement reiterated the party’s position given in a March 15, 2002 statement that its withdrawal from the parliament was “to register its disgust at the failure of the PPP/C government to honour its responsibility for good governance, their refusal to implement agreed constitutional changes, their refusal to implement many decisions made during the process of dialogue and the clear intention of the Government to subvert the functioning of Parliament in accordance with the Guyana Constitution.”
The advertisement also reiterates the steps the PNCR says the government must take as an indication of its good faith and commitment to the functioning of the parliament as the Constitution provides.
These steps are the provision by Parliament of adequate time to opposition business and the concerns to be raised by the opposition parties; observation of the tradition that opposition business should take precedence on Wednesdays, and the regular convening of parliament instead of at the whims and fancy of the governing party.
The advertisement recalled that the St Lucia Statement agreed to by the PNCR and the PPP/C provides for the establishment of a Parliamentary Management Committee on which the government and opposition would be equally represented. “The government has not yet responded to opposition proposals on the composition of this committee.”
It also referred to the four sectoral committees established by an amendment to the constitution and to whose establishment the parties agreed. The advertisement says, “The government has not agreed that government ministers must be excluded from these committees as is the practice all over the world”
The advertisement says too, that until the other matters related to the parliament are settled “the appointive committee of parliament cannot be established”.
As a consequence it says “it is nothing short of wishful thinking to expect the PNCR will abandon its principled position and return to Parliament unless and until the Government demonstrates that it intends to make Parliament a functioning body in accordance with the Constitution”.