Can a mediator bridge the gap between gov’t and opposition on Rohee?

Dear Editor, 

It seems that there is gridlock in Guyana because of the lack of co-operation between the government and the combined opposition forces since government proposed Bills cannot be passed if they are blocked by the combined opposition and successful opposition Bills cannot become law because the President can refuse to give his assent.

Guyana has a supreme parliament, the Higher Courts being the guardian of the Constitution, have an inherent power to look at the issues.

However there are added difficulties vis-à-vis the President’s veto powers under Article 170 even though this can be overcome, after referral, with a two-thirds majority in Parliament, and then again the President’s immunity under Article 182 of the Constitution.

It seems as if the High Court has no jurisdiction since matters of parliament are for the resolution by the law making body -parliament- and not the courts which can only interpret the laws made by Parliament.

The big controversy now is that the combined opposition successfully passed a motion of no confidence against Minister Clement Rohee. The President does not accept the motion and as a result Rohee continues in office,  but is not allowed by the opposition to speak forcing the Speaker to adjourn sittings on two occasions.

Some political analysts feel that the matter should be referred to the Caribbean Court of Justice, but I am not sure if the CCJ in its inherent jurisdiction can play a role in resolving the issue since the Executive is an independent arm of Government and neither the judiciary, another arm of government or parliament the third arm can revoke a decision/appointment by the executive.

One way is an agreement between the government and the opposition, but this seems hardly unlikely at this time since both parties are holding out much to the detriment of the country.

I wonder if an independent mediator, a high profile person or group, respected in both camps  can bridge the gap. Both the government and the opposition realize that public relations is extremely poor in the country. There is need for a better working relationship and understanding, but it is regrettable that the government has identified a former minister and a former short-term ambassador to head the public relati0on department. I am not sure if Mr Kellawan Lall is qualified and has the experience and charisma to be an effective PR person.

It also needs a race relations person because unfortunately the Co-operative Republic is still affected by race politics.

The other alternative is a snap election, but President Ramotar might be reluctant to have another poll because it is likely that his party would fail to gain as many votes they got in the last general elections.

The PPP/C is not likely to regain the government if the President persists to retain three ministers of the government who have been accused of gross wrongdoings. On the other hand it is felt that AFC stalwart Moses Nagamootoo would not be able to swing many votes if a snap election is called.

Yours faithfully,
Oscar Ramjeet
Florida

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