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GUYANA: Speaker instructs Clerk to convene Parliament

Speaker of the National Assembly Raphael Trotman Speaker of the National Assembly Raphael Trotman
GEORGETOWN, Guyana October 28, 2014 - Speaker of the House of Guyana’s National Assembly  Raphael Trotman has instructed the Clerk to convene a sitting of Parliament on  the 6th of November.

This is in a bid to break an impasse between government and the opposition over the an appropriate date  for the convening of the National Assembly following a two month recess.

The Speaker told the Clerk in an October 27 letter that the gridlock is untenable and unhealthy because the Assembly has not met since July 10.  

Trotman says the failure of the Assembly to meet since the two-month parliamentary recess ended on October 10, cannot continue any longer because there is no national emergency. He says in fact there are several issues that require the immediate attention of the law-makers.

In letters to the Prime Minister, Opposition Leader and the Leader of the Alliance For Change,  the House Speaker says he has instructed the Clerk to convene a sitting on November 6 because the Chief Government and Opposition Whips have failed to reach an agreement on a date.

The million dollar question is however, whether the Clerk will obey the instructions of the Speaker, as he is on record as saying that only government can call a sitting of the Assembly.

The Alliance For Change (AFC) and A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) together enjoy a one-seat majority in the 65-seat National Assembly and are anxious to debate and vote on a no-confidence motion filed against the President Donald Ramotar by the AFC.

However, the main opposition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) has publicly stated that its priority is not a no-confidence motion but getting the government to hold long overdue Local Government Elections.

Government Chief Whip Gail Teixeira has suggested that the Donald Ramotar administration is not fearful of convening a sitting or addressing the AFC’s no-confidence motion.

The Speaker says that he relied on opinions by two former Speakers –one each from the government and opinions- to ask the Clerk to convene the sitting. In essence, that advice states that the Assembly shall meet day by day unless otherwise decided by the members.

Mr Trotman reasons that since the Assembly automatically went into recess on August 10, it automatically came out of recess on October 10 and so the House should have been convened on the first working day.

He told the Clerk that he has taken full responsibility for the adjournment of the House on July 10 to a date to be fixed, adding that an open-ended adjournment is tantamount to a violation of the constitutional mandate for the Assembly to meet day by day.

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