President Donald Ramotar yesterday briefly met Leader of the Opposition David Granger who later described the discussions as “talks about talks”.
“At the president’s request we met yesterday, shortly after noon, and discussed the future of talks on three matters: consultation for the appointment of the Chancellor and Chief Justice, budget talks, and resumption of talks between the representatives of Linden and central government…the talks was basically to let talks on other matters not get derailed”, Granger last evening told Stabroek News.
He said that on the matter of having the Chancellor and Chief Justice substantively appointed, a formal notification for consultations by the president needs to be sent to him as catered for in the constitution. “Their appointments I have been saying for a long time need to be addressed but I told the president that formal consultation is needed as defined by the constitution… It is a formal process and he needed to establish that a formal request be made to the Leader of the Opposition.” Granger said that when that is done he will make himself available since he understands the seriousness of the issue at hand. This promise, he said, was also given to the president. The two sides had previously blamed each other for the absence of consultations on having substantive appointments made to the top two judicial positions.
On talks about the 2013 Budget, Granger said that there was one meeting between Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh and the opposition and since then the Finance Minister has been mum. Granger said that his party wanted talks to resume. He was told by the president that Dr. Singh was out of the country and upon his return the matter will be addressed.
Ramotar had last week said that he does not believe that it is too late for meaningful budget consultations and he had directed Singh to meet with stakeholders, including the opposition, on it.
“I have said publicly and I have told Minister Singh to have extensive consultations on the budget measures. I think today he is meeting with some interest groups. I told him to engage the opposition in consultation as far as the budget is concerned,” the President had stated. “I hope that these consultations can take place quickly now after the holiday period and hopefully we could have a budget that is acceptable to all the parties in Parliament and that we can go forward,” he said.