Ramotar explains non-assent to Local Government Bill; Speaker says it is unlawful

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By Leroy Smith

President Donald Ramotar
President Donald Ramotar

[www.inewsguyana.com] – Head of State, Donald Ramotar yesterday officially stated why he has withheld his signature from the Local Authorities (Amendment) (Elections) Bill.

In a letter sent to the Speaker of the National Assembly Raphael Trotman, President Ramotar related that he is withholding his signature in accordance with article 170(2) of the Constitution.

He went on to state that he is withholding his assent since the Guyana Elections Commission has publically declared that it is impractical to hold Local Government Elections on or before August 1, 2014 as the is mandated by the Bill.

Meanwhile, Speaker of the National Assembly Raphael Trotman when contacted by iNews for a comment on the issue stated that he has noted the position of the President and did send a copy of the signed letter to all the Members of Parliament.

Trotman said that the next step will be the discussion of the President’s position when the House sits again and the way forward will be determined.

The Speaker of the House said that he is not sure if the position of the president is valid and stated that it will be the political parties who will have to consult with their representatives on the Guyana Elections Commission to see if the position of the President is indeed the position of the Guyana Elections Commission.

Speaker of the National Assembly, Raphael Trotman.
Speaker of the National Assembly, Raphael Trotman.

Trotman is of the view that the Bill could have been assented to then return to the National Assembly for amendments where necessary rather than not having a Bill all together.

According to him, not having a Local Government Bill and Local Government Elections is undemocratic. The Speaker told iNews that the decision of the president is an example of not observing the law and that needs to be addressed.

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