By Fareeza Haniff
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Speaker of the National Assembly, Raphael Trotman continues to push for dialogue between the Opposition and government, following the prorogation of Parliament.
While being aware that the Opposition is against engaging the government in any dialogue outside of Parliament, Trotman believes that it is the only way to move forward.
As such, he once again plugged the notion of inviting a ‘third party’ to facilitate dialogue; a suggestion which the Opposition and Government are not against, but one which they both believe should be a last resort.
During his appearance on the radio programme ‘Hard Talk’ aired on 90.1 Love FM on Sunday, November 30, Trotman explained that while President Donald Ramotar acted within the constitution in proroguing Parliament, the constitution does not explain the circumstances under which this can be done.
“So that is where the debate stems from. Is it right to prorogue Parliament because of political disagreements?” the Speaker questioned.
He further noted, “I believe dialogue is a must, an imperative. If you’re fighting, at the end of the battle you must talk. We cannot avoid dialogue, particularly when we are in a country that has factions and it is fractured.”
He admitted that the Opposition has a right to reject the President’s request for dialogue.
“The Opposition has a principled right, a justified right for not wanting dialogue. In other words, you have suspended us and want dialogue; you can’t have it both ways.”
He believes that a mediator may assist in breaking the political gridlock. The Speaker recently wrote to Commonwealth Secretary General (SG) Kamalesh Sharma, requesting that he send a delegation to Guyana to engage the political Opposition and government in breaking the political gridlock.
“In the past we’ve used Caricom and further afield where we’ve had the Commonwealth Secretariat being involved. So the point is there are options. What is most important are not the options but the will to seek them out and to engage them. So dialogue has to be on the table; how it is done depends on the maturity of our political actors,” the Speaker said today.
Meanwhile, despite the political impasse, he believes that there is still hope for Guyana.
“The only thing that is holding us together from descending into chaos into being a failed state even though there are some people who believe we are a failed state, I don’t share that view, I believe that we are badly wounded and abnormal.”
On November 10, President Ramotar decided to prorogue the Parliament in order stave off a No Confidence Motion brought against his government by the Alliance For Change (AFC), of which Trotman is a member.
The passage of the motion would have seen Parliament being dissolved and the holding of General and Regional Elections.
The Parliament however can only be prorogued for six months. The President has since stated that if dialogue fails with the Opposition within that period, then he will set a date for general elections.