A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) is deeply disturbed by President Donald Ramotar’s dilatoriness in issuing instructions to allow the Guyanese people to exercise their right to elect their representatives in local government elections at the earliest possible date.
President Ramotar told his supporters at a town hall meeting in New York organised by the People’s Progressive Party’s Association of Concerned Guyanese, “Well, my mother used to say you can’t have it in cake and have it in bake; you can’t have it both ways, you have to make up your mind what you want.”
President Ramotar is the one who needs to make up his mind and do his duty as a national leader. He is suggesting, falsely, that there is a ‘choice’ between local government elections and general and regional elections, that is, between ‘cake’ and ‘bake.’ He is suggesting also that, the motion proposed by the Alliance For Change to express ‘no-confidence’ in the government which could lead to general and regional elections could pose a constitutional dilemma.
President Ramotar, in so doing, is pretending that there is a contradiction or a choice. There is none. He has failed the nation by not exercising his executive, constitutional duty to make a timely decision for the conduct of local government elections. The nation is entitled to both local government (LGE) and general and regional elections (GRE). President Ramotar alone is the author of the ‘cake-or-bake’ confusion that he is complaining about.
President Ramotar acknowledged that he did promise ― in the PPP/C 2011 election manifesto ― that, once his party was returned to office, local government elections would be held within the first year. He admitted reneging on his own promise. He explained, fatuously, “… I did not anticipate that we would have had a one-seat minority in Parliament and that created political uncertainty… within what we call the politics of the country.”
President Ramotar had to be reminded that he failed to instruct his Minister of Local Government and Regional Development to issue the ‘Commencement Order’ to operationalise the Local Government Commission; he failed to assent to the Local Government (Amendment) Bill and he failed to assent to the Local Authorities (Elections) (Amendment) Bill so that elections could be held by 1st August 2014.
APNU reminds the PPP/C Administration that the passage of these Bills by the National Assembly was a legitimate expression of the will of the majority and should be respected. The Guyanese people now face a grave threat to their constitutional liberties and privileges. They continue to demand that it is their inalienable right to elect the persons they want to represent them in their towns, villages and neighbourhoods.
APNU warns the President that he is sleepwalking into a constitutional crisis which could have catastrophic consequences for our country. The President’s inconsistent statements, unconstitutional conduct and dilatory tactics are creating confusion and consternation. The President must demonstrate leadership. He must address the nation quickly and truthfully to assure the people that he will uphold their constitutional right to local government elections. The people do have the right to both cake and bake.