Planned talks between President, opposition fizzle

Ramjattan: `I am not going to meet with anyone for a photo op…I am not going to parade with him’

Planned talks between President Donald Ramotar and opposition leaders fizzled today after APNU’s David Granger headed instead to a shadow cabinet meeting and AFC’s Khemraj Ramjattan refused to meet.

Ramjattan told Stabroek News “I am not going to meet with anyone for a photo op…I am not going to parade with him”. He said that it made little sense to the Alliance For Change to meet with President Ramotar because the focus was on the “aftermath” of GPL’s 26.7 percent tariff increase pronouncement. “The President refuses to consult the opposition on something of this nature and he waits until the backlash to scramble together a meeting, no”, the AFC Leader declared.

Ramjattan stated that “the president’s own supporters are saying this was a bad move and it is, this government refuses to discuss these issues and only when the situation becomes this mess does the President request talks”. He said that beyond the most recent issues with GPL’s tariff increase the President had promised relevant documents on how to effectively reduce GPL’s losses in the future.

Ramjattan noted that since the last meeting on May 29 with President Ramotar, he had requested updates on the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project and any relevant documentation dealing with any possible issues the IDB is having concerning their US$175 million investment. Ramjattan stated that “whatever is new I wanted to see, he had made this promise to me…what are we going to talk about if we don’t have any updates? This doesn’t make sense he has to provide relevant documentation and information and then we discuss.”

The AFC leader stated that “I have spoken to him about a range of feasibility studies looking at wind, the other alternatives and he calls this meeting and doesn’t give us anything to brief”.

Ramjattan stated that GPL was in crisis and the Guyanese people were also bound to suffer. He said that GPL’s proposed tariff increase was the basis for the President calling a tripartite meeting. “I am not interested in what they are saying about the turnaround plan for GPL and the other due diligence they are talking about,” Ramjattan continued, adding that the government’s stance was based on blaming the opposition budget cuts when GPL was a long-suffering financially crippled company. He noted that the opposition has been calling for the dismissal of the board and instead the state-owned company has decided a 26.7 percent tariff increase was the solution.

The last time President Ramotar met with opposition leaders in relation to good governance was May 29 and 30. Ramotar met with Granger separately from Ramjattan. The separate meetings have caused critics to note that no significant conversation can be had if the meetings are exclusive of any one political party.


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