Opposition hones Parliament plans

The joint opposition parties – the Alliance For Change (AFC) and A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) – have established two sectoral working groups in the areas of governance and the economy and are scheduled to meet with President Donald Ramotar today.

The parties announced the sectoral areas in a statement yesterday, coming out of talks that they had on Tuesday in the interest of continuing the discussions aimed at arriving at a consensual agenda and building a healthy relationship within te National Assembly.

And the Opposition is today expected to press the President on the date of the commencement of Parliament.

The working group on governance has on it Clayton Hall, Raphael Trotman and Moses Nagamootoo of the AFC and Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine, Deborah Backer and Basil Williams of APNU. The working group on the economy comprises Khemraj Ramjattan and Gerhard Ramsaroop of the AFC and Carl Greenidge of APNU.

Persons from the two Opposition parties will be added to the working groups as the talks progress, Stabroek News has learnt.

“Representatives of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC) met again yesterday to continue the exploratory process of a creating a sustainable framework for joint engagement in the National Assem-bly, and the shaping of a common agenda that takes into account the needs of the Guyanese people, their expectations, and the Parties’ commitments made during the just concluded campaign,” the statement said.

“Most importantly, the representatives discussed a wide range of issues that address governance, and the economic wellbeing of the state and its citizens,” the statement said.

Those issues included wide-ranging parliamentary reforms “leading to a strong and participatory National Assembly, support for the strengthening of the rule of law, the lowering of the VAT, and increasing public service wages, increases in Old Age Pension, increase of public sector wages and a re-examination of the President’s Pension package…”

According to the statement, the appointment of the Speaker of the National Assembly, and other important roles and responsibilities, remain under active discussion for resolution not as isolated items, but as part of a fuller menu of agreed measures.

“The two parties agreed to continue to meet and deepen their engagement and remain committed to fulfilling the mandate the people of Guyana,” the statement said.

Last night, the Office of the President confirmed that President Ramotar will today be meeting with representatives of APNU and the AFC to continue to work towards the shaping of the Tenth Parliament. Sources revealed to this newspaper that the Opposition parties are expected to inquire of the President the date of the commencement of the Tenth Parliament. Ramotar has thus far had separate meetings with APNU and the AFC. This will be the first time he would be caucusing with the joint opposition.

Meanwhile, Dr. Roopnaraine has informed Stabroek News that APNU’s list of Members of Parlia-ment will be made available to the public today. He said that yesterday the party was in the process of informing the persons not only entering the Tenth Parliament but also those being selected for seats on Regional Democratic Councils (RDCs).

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