By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] –The combined Opposition has been successful in its mobilization of support to reject a decision by President Donald Ramotar to prorogue Guyana’s Parliament with thousands attending the first of a series of rallies at the Square of the Revolution tonight, following the Monday development.
Though several speakers addressed the gathering, common among the messages was that the President’s decision was a threat to democracy and that general election along with constitutional reform was needed to address a political crisis, engineered by Ramotar and his administration.
Opening the batting with a cheering crowd was Opposition Parliamentarian, Dr. Rupert Roopnarine. He said that the ruling People’s Progressive Party has done a grave injustice to all Parliamentarians, including its own.
“The PPP has made democracy homeless,” he said as he denounced what he said were attempts by the minority government to continue along a path of one Party rule.
He was the first to prompt that general elections are necessary; reminding that the prorogation came ahead of a debate on the No Confidence Motion against the Donald Ramotar administration, which once successful, would have triggered general elections.
“We are not afraid to face elections… we want elections now because this government must be changed now, we have the answer to dictatorial arrogance,” he exclaimed; calling on supporters to get used to gathering at the location since it will continue until the Party sees desired results.
Dr. Roopnarine says he cannot promise that a day will come when supporters will “march on the Office of the President.”
Similar sentiments were expressed by members of the main opposition and parliamentary coalition – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU). Chairing the rally was Opposition Chief Whip Amna Ally who turned out to be a good sport and provided the gathering with jokes at intervals.
At one point she claimed he had received a call informing her that the entire Cabinet was suffering from cold sweat with the huge turnout the rally received.
The crowd signaled their agreement, with load cheers and applause, whenever speakers hinted that “Donald Ramotar must go.”
Also joining the APNU was the minority opposition Party – the Alliance for Change (AFC). The Party’s Chairman, Nigel Hughes submitted that the President has changed this Republic into a kingdom; urging those gathered that it was a situation to take very seriously and not joke about.
“We must be serious lest we walk backward into colonialism,” he said; adding that “this is an unprecedented move that has thrown the country into deep waters and a political crisis.”
According to Hughes, Former President and PPP Leader, the late Dr. Cheddi Jagan must be “turning in his grave” to see the anti-democratic stance Ramotar has taken.
Hughes maintained that there will be no extra parliamentary engagement with the President during this period even as he drew attention to the Party’s intention to lobby international Bodies to have the President reverse his decision and reconvene Parliament.
He plugged too for constitutional reform; pointing out that the President has used constitutional provisions to embark on his dictatorial path.
The highlight of the evening was the Leader of the Opposition, David Granger. Loud laughter erupted when he said “Donald could duck but he can’t hide.”
According to Granger, the purpose of the prorogation is to duck from the No Confidence vote, from holding Local Government Elections, from a debate on financial improprieties and other sanctions and scrutiny in the National Assembly.
He said Ramotar has proved to be a dictator by his actions and speech in recent days.
“He never accepted that his government was a minority… he doesn’t realize that the ground is moving from under the PPP’s feet and people are joining APNU by droves.”
According to the Opposition Leader, the President thinks he is being clever when in fact all he is being is a “clever duck.”
He opined that the ruling Party does not understand the suffering of ordinary Guyanese; urging that the time has come for the PPP to leave office as he promised a better life for all Guyanese.
He ended the rally on a high note with the crowd agreeing that the No Confidence Motion was necessary along with the reconvening of Parliament and early general elections.