By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – As the 11th Session of Guyana’s National Assembly got underway on Wednesday, June 10, President David Granger affirmed that the elections “campaign is over” and now the real work of building Guyana commences for parliamentarians and those in government.
The President made the remarks while addressing the opening of the parliamentary session which was not attended by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic – Guyana’s opposition elect.
President Granger outlined the plan of action for the government, making special reference to several quintessential pieces of legislation that are expected to be dealt with during this session of Parliament.
Those include the long overdue Telecommunications Bill, Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Bill, Public Utilities Bill and the Local government legislation.
“Your Government will adhere to an empowerment policy that regularly renews local democracy by ensuring that local government elections are held – as is stipulated in our Constitution. We shall fortify grassroots democracy by ensuring that local residents are allowed to play a greater role in managing their towns and villages. We shall, introduce legislation to upgrade the four hinterland regional administrative centres – Bartica, Mahdia, Mabaruma and Lethem – to township status with their own mayors and town councils,” President Granger affirmed.
President Granger also promised to “reassert and reaffirm” the integrity and independence of Guyana’s National Assembly adding that the government “will ensure that the Assembly is granted administrative autonomy, institutional autonomy, political autonomy and financial autonomy. We have seen how a subservient National Assembly could become a bane rather than a boom to democracy.”
Speaking to the issue of International relations, the President noted that the Government will do everything within its power to secure our borders.
“We aim at playing a leading role in regional affairs, using our presence on the South American Continent and our membership of the Caribbean Community, the Organisation of American States, Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) to re-engage our neighbours and resolve the major regional security and economic challenges.”
He said that steps will be taken to fortify relations “with our neighbours – the Federative Republic of Brazil; the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Republic of Suriname. We believe that our four neighbouring Republics together have much to contribute to the security of national borders, to the stability of this continent, to the success of the Union of South American Nations and to the happiness of our peoples. We will seek effective international collaboration to sustain economic growth and preserve international peace.”
He also touted plans to suppress serious crimes and stanch the spate of armed robberies.
“We shall reduce other everyday crimes – including banditry, murder, piracy, fatalities on the roads and interpersonal violence that are scaring foreign investors, driving away the educated élite, stifling the manufacturing sector, strangling local enterprise, scuttling the economy, undermining economic growth and impeding social development,” the President stated.
“The elections campaign is over. The ballots have been cast. The tally has been taken. The results have been declared. A new administration has been installed. Let us put the hostility of the hustings behind us. Let us eschew the rancour of the campaign and the rhetoric of rivalry. Let us look to the future with hope, determined to do only what is best for the Guyanese people now and for generations to come. Let us reinforce the foundation of our nation by working together for the common good. We are the National Assembly not a political party rally,” the President emphasized.