By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Alliance For Change (AFC) Leader Khemraj Ramjattan has indicated the Party’s willingness to join forces with the members of the ruling People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and the main opposition, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) to lead a pro- democracy alliance.
Speaking at the AFC’s National Conference this morning (December 06), he registered his confidence in the AFC’s ability to lead such an alliance even as the Party begins its elections campaign.
“Indeed the AFC is ready to enter, if necessary, into negotiations to lead a pro-democracy alliance with progressive forces, workers unions, political forces and by political forces we mean even PPP members who have been disenfranchised and APNU,” Ramjattan said.
Boasting of the AFC’s ability and leadership to offer Guyana a brighter future, Ramjattan said the Party firmly believes every citizen, group and political party that has something wholesome to offer to the efforts of a renewed Guyana must find a way to corporate and deliver to the people, a government of national unity.
“One which the politics of inclusion reins over the politics of fear and division,” he added.
Meanwhile, Party Chairman Nigel Hughes gave support to the Leader with a presentation titled: “A New Day for Inclusionary Democracy”.
He cited several articles of the constitution, including Article 13 which mandates “The principal objective of the political system of the State is to establish an inclusionary democracy by providing increased opportunities for the participation of citizens and the organisations in the management and decision making processes of the State with particular emphasis on those areas of decision making that directly affect their well- being”.
He explained if Article 13 has mandated that principal objective of the political system is to establish an inclusionary democracy then the manifestation of inclusionary democracy is a mirage as Article 50 locates democratic power effectively in the hands of the President complemented by complete immunity in the exercise of the powers vested in the supreme organs of “democratic power”.
“We believe that the principles set out in Article 13 should apply to the composition of the cabinet so that in this organ inclusionary democracy is reflected,” Hughes said in his presentation.
He noted that the organs of democratic power should consist of the National Assembly and the Presidency with the Presidency being the minor of the two organs.
According to Hughes, in the event that a new constitution identifies and locates the organs of democratic power in the National Assembly and the Presidency, then the election of the President shall be effected directly by the people and not by virtue of being head of any party as exists at present.
Under the current arrangements the President is elected by virtue of being the Presidential Candidate stated on the list of candidates which he/ she heads.
This arrangement fuses the election of a party to the National Assembly with the election of the candidate for President.
“This removes from the electorate the opportunity of voting for a directly for the President but confirms them to the choice of a political party headed by a specific candidate.”
He explained that the President must be able to secure a majority of the votes cast, while the office of the Prime Minister should be the candidate who secures the second highest votes in the Presidential election.
“The powers of Prime Minister must be increased and not confined to mere leadership of the Government’s business in the National Assembly. The composition of the cabinet should broadly reflect the votes cast at national elections for various parties,” Hughes explained.
According to him, the members of Cabinet should only be appointed subject to the approval of the national assembly
“A new constitution should envision a cabinet which includes key appointments from the specifically qualified nominees from the political parties in proportion to the votes secured at the National election.”
He went on to explain that the key cabinet posts of Minister of Finance, Attorney General, National security and Home Affairs and Minister of Education with Deputy Ministerial positions shall be alternatively identified and appointed by the President and the Prime Minister.
He suggested that the immunities of the President as set out Article 182 of the Constitution must be reduced.
“The President should be liable for the civilly and criminally liable for any infractions of the laws of the Country conducted during the term of his office. These proceedings however should not instituted against him and or her while he and she occupies the office of President. The same shall apply to the office of Prime Minister.”