by Shaun Michael Samaroo
New Guyanese President Donald Ramotar sounded alarm bells after the nation's 10th Parliament created history with the first Parliamentary Speaker elected from Opposition benches.
While citizens welcome the election of leader of the third force Party, the Alliance For Change, Raphael Trotman, as the new Speaker, the Executive President expressed horror that Guyana had shunned a Speaker from the Government benches.
“This gross violation of an established convention is not a healthy development in this new dispensation,” the President told reporters at a media briefing after Trotman's election.
President Ramotar deplored the lack of what he called the “Commonwealth precedent” in the country, whereby the ruling Party holds the speakership.
Opposition Members of Parliament say they plan to use their one-seat majority in the National Assembly to curb alleged widespread State corruption, reign in Government abuse of the State media, and demand strict accountability of State funds from bureaucrats.
The Speaker determines Parliamentary procedures, and holds overriding powers.
Across the country, and throughout the global Guyanese community, citizens welcomed the new dynamics in Parliament, despite the Presidential tantrum.
Tweeting, Arnold @aplus21 said: “Good luck to Raphael Trotman and all the members of the 10th Parliament. Make it count!”
Citizens hope to see the new Parliamentary dynamic deliver tangible results, functioning as a democratic institution that grants the people power to play their role in governance, along with the elected Government. The “make it count!” advice refers to the lack of teeth in the previous nine Parliaments, in the face of an Executive President constitutionally immune from Parliamentary procedures.
The local News Site, Demerara Waves (demerarawaves.com) generated heated debate from citizens when it reported the story of the President's displeasure.
In the Comments section, poster Kris said: “An interesting development but an even more interesting pronouncement. I trust that we will now have the parliament we all longed for. Let progress begin!”
Demerara Waves reported the President saying he would “closely monitor” the Parliament. To which mohamed29 replied: “Ramotar what are you going to monitor? It is all about not having you and the PPP way because when Ramkarran (ex-Speaker) was there he sided with only the Jagdeo (ex-President) and the PPP. … So I think you ramotar can go and burn cane like you used to do in the seventies.”
The negotiations between the Alliance For Change (AFC) and the main Opposition party, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) had generated nationwide acrimony and strife as each party rejected the other's candidate. They agreed at the last minute on Trotman after President Ramotar surprised them with a snap convening of the House.
The fight over the Speaker had rankled and disillusioned citizens.
And they vented with passion, as this comment from poster Mother Sally on the above Demerara Waves report sums up the feeling: “The people of Guyana have spoken and unlike the peasants and mud rats of the PPP - Raphael Trotman is not only a distinguished lawyer and son of this soil but also comes from a very respected and reputable family of high standing in the annals of Commonwealth jurisprudence.
What credentials does Ramotar really bring to the table so to speak other than having been an underling of the late communist bogeyman - Cheddi Jagan. (Ex-President) Jagdeo - Baby Hitler - claimed that Ramotar was a brilliant economist which we all know is a farce as he (Ramotar) is an idealogue at best.
Like the rest of the nation, we hope to the Almighty that Raphael Trotman, Deborah Backer, Ramjattan, Nagamootoo and Granger (opposition members) will find the necessary courage and conviction in immediately going after those that stole, plundered and raped the treasury of Guyana in recent times.
People are looking on and have the highest hopes for this parliament so if they think that any of them are going to go into parliament, get comfortable and live high on the hog they had be better be prepared to face massive social agitation and protests. Please note that it will not and cannot be ‘business as usual' because the likes of the Youth Coalition for Transformation and GUYANA UNITED are not prepared to accept any more foolishness from anyone or from any side be it PNC, APNU, AFC, PPP, Catholic Archdiocese, the CIOG, the Maha Sabha, the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha, the Bahais, the Hare Krishna Movement or even the Moonies to boot.
It is time to rescue this nation from the treacherous hands of demented characters such as the PPP. It is time to say enough..is enough and it is time to put them all on trial for grand larceny for a start including of course seizing all their assets and dealing with their families condignly as well.NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW AND WE MUST TAKE BACK GUYANA BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY.”
The parliamentary drama could play out into the President calling a snap election in hopes of regaining a majority for the ruling Party, as a bitter feud has already started to brew between Opposition Leader, Brigadier David Granger and the verbally pugilistic President, over the upcoming national Budget.
The November 28, 2011 elections saw bitter ethnic divisions and fears of unrest.
Efforts to work for conciliatory cooperation among the three Parliamentary parties broke down after the elections, with each blaming the other in distrust, and the ruling People's Progressive Party refusing to share power.