By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Attorney General Anil Nandlall on Wednesday, January 21 defended President Donald Ramotar’s decision to sustain the prorogation of Guyana’s Parliament even as he has announced a date for fresh general and regional elections.
Following the President’s announcement on Tuesday, the Opposition has questioned his seriousness in the face of the sustained prorogation which commenced on November 10, 2014 and could last for some six months.
Deputy Speaker and Opposition Parliamentarian Basil Williams opined that there is an anomaly where the Guyanese Head of State has announced a date for elections without dissolution of the Parliament.
“I think that might be unprecedented… He has to end the prorogation and then dissolve Parliament,” the Deputy Speaker said.
He explained that the ruling People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is mortally afraid to hold elections and continues with delaying tactics. According to Williams, the President has only named a date to ease the pressure on him when in actuality, nothing has changed.
Meanwhile, the Guyana Human Rights Association believes the President’s announcement does not preclude him from changing his mind. The Body criticized the manner in which the elections date has been set, without reference to the life of Parliament and called on the Ramotar to dissolve Parliament earliest.
But according to the AG, the power to fix a date for general elections is reposed exclusively in the President and can be exercised in his deliberate judgment and not necessarily influenced by anyone else.
“As far as I am aware, the President fixed that date in his own deliberate judgment. He had done what he committed to do since November last year.”
Nandlall said there is no obligation on the President under the constitution which compels him to dissolve Parliament at the same time he sets a date.
“There is no such rule or obligation.” The AG acknowledged that what exists is a time frame within which he must operate.
He said anytime within the prorogation period, he can end it and dissolve the Parliament, leaving three months to elections date.