[www.inewsguyana.com] – President Donald Ramotar has clarified that he has not settled on a date for the holding of General and Regional Elections but says that an announcement in that regard will be made soon.
Ramotar made the comment on Thursday evening (January 15) after addressing the opening of the first ever Guyana – Suriname Trade Mission at the Princess Hotel.
The Head of State is quoted in a local daily to have said: “I haven’t decided as yet but not this weekend but soon, soon.”
Ramotar, during an address to the nation on December 6, 2014, had promised to name a date “early in 2015” for the holding of elections ahead of its 2016 due date to bring an end to the persistent political and parliamentary gridlock experienced since the 2011 elections, which saw the Opposition securing a majority in the National Assembly.
Ramotar had said that he did not want to disrupt the Christmas season and citied what he said was a failed prorogation of Guyana Parliament after the Opposition refused to engage in dialogue.
The Guyanese Head of State prorogued Parliament on November 10, 2014 as the Opposition was gearing to debate a No –Confidence Motion it had brought against his minority administration.
After the President failed to announce a date for elections in his New Year’s address, the political opposition has been calling on him to do so; claiming that the continued prorogation is undemocratic. The Opposition also believes that the delay in going to the polls is affecting business and putting a damper on the economy.
But while the private sector has not thrown any punches at the President, it says the holding of elections before the 2016 due date was a major disincentive and reasoned that businesses were currently in a “wait and see” mode.
The government has also attracted criticism from the diplomatic community, which expressed concerns that the prorogation could be undemocratic and the earliest resumption of Parliament was necessary.
Civil society organizations have also called for an end to the prorogation. The government has defended its position; saying the prorogation was a constitutional provision that was used to avoid a shutdown of the country by the Opposition. [Kurt Campbell]