A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) supports international criticism of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration over its damage to parliamentary and local democracy in Guyana. President Donald Ramotar has failed to conduct local government elections and failed to recall the National Assembly after he prorogued Parliament on the 10th November 2014. APNU notes the following:
- 9th January 2013: The Ambassadors and High Commissioners of the USA, UK, Canada and the European Union stated, jointly: “Given the important and pressing need for effective local governance, we believe that 2013 should be a watershed moment for the people of Guyana – the year they can once again democratically elect their local government…the institutions and practice of local governance have withered on the vine.”
- 6th March 2014: Several foreign missions and local non-governmental organisations issued a joint statement expressing their collective hope that local government elections would be held by the 1st August 2014. That statement was signed by the British High Commission; High Commission of Canada; Embassy of the United States of America; Berbice Chamber of Commerce; Consultative Association of Guyanese Industry; Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Guyana Association of Women Lawyers; Guyana Bar Association; Guyana Manufacturing and Service Association; Guyana Trades Union Congress; Justice Institute; Private Sector Commission and Transparency Institute Guyana Inc.
- 11th November 2014: The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Jose Miguel Insulza, took note of Proclamation No. 1 of 2014, dated November 10, 2014, in which President Donald Ramotar prorogued the Tenth Parliament of Guyana with immediate effect for a maximum period of six months. Insulza stated: “…in a democracy, an efficient functioning of the Parliament allows for checks and balances and for the voice of the people to be heard.” He expressed the hope that: “…parliamentary debate could be resumed in the 10th Parliament in the shortest possible period of time.”
- 8th January 2015: The UK’s Foreign Office Minister, Tobias Ellwood, stated: “The UK Government views with concern the continued prorogation of Parliament by His Excellency President Ramotar and calls for its earliest possible resumption. Parliament is required by Guyana’s Constitution and the Commonwealth Charter, it provides the necessary checks and balances and enables citizens’ voices to be heard. The suspension of Parliament therefore means that an essential element of a functioning democracy has been put on hold. “We also continue to have concerns that there have been no local elections for over 20 years, which is also contrary to the democratic principles of the Commonwealth Charter and Guyana’s own Constitution. “The UK calls on all stakeholders to seek solutions to the political and socio-economic challenges facing Guyana so that the country can develop in a fair, democratic and equitable way.”
- 12th January 2015: The United Kingdom High Commissioner to Guyana Andrew Ayre warned that Guyana was on a “dangerous path” and that the country could be referred to a Commonwealth body which deals with serious violators of democracy principles. He warned, also, that UK’s assistance to Guyana could be affected if the suspension of Parliament by President Donald Ramotar is not lifted. He stated: “Guyana is moving into a category of concern for the Commonwealth.”
President Donald Ramotar will be remembered forever as the President who inflicted the greatest damage on parliamentary and local democracy. The President has violated the spirit of the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana which states: “Local government is a vital aspect of democracy and shall be organized so as to involve as many people as possible in the task of managing and developing the communities in which they live.” The President, by his 10th November 2014 prorogation of parliament, effectively prevented the functioning of the National Assembly which has not met for over six months.