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|Teixeira irked by Granger’s contradictory statement|
|Saturday, 14 July 2012 22:12|
‘CONTRADICTORY’ was the word used yesterday by Presidential Advisor on Governance, Ms Gail Teixeira, to describe the recent publicised statement by Opposition Leader Mr. David Granger, that “the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) closes door on winner-takes-all politics.”
In an invited comment, Teixeira said Granger’s commentary is the total opposite of what his party, along with the Alliance For Change (AFC), is demonstrating in the National Assembly.
She deemed the statement as ironic, saying that Guyana and the progressive forces had long recognised that winner-takes-all is not the way to go for the political environment since in the 1980s.
Such a position was taken by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) before 1985, since they were trying to find a political solution to move away from the winner-takes-all practice.
Testimony to this is the constitutional reform process that the PPP/C administration went through as a country in the 1999-2003 period, which sought to find an inclusive governance model for Guyana in which the situation where the opposition leader is the only one in the Caribbean that has a veto vote on the presidential appointees on constitutional post-holders.
The appointment of the rights commissions, the role of the parliamentary committees and a range of issues that were built into the constitution (the supreme law of the country) are a few other forms of power-sharing that were cited.
Ms Teixeira posited, “Well, it’s better late than never that they finally realised that winner does not take all; but for the democratic forces that were struggling for the restoration of democracy prior to 1992, this was a recognition first by the PPP/C, and subsequently by other political parties that this is not the way to go”.
She believes that had it not been for the PPP/C government, which at that time had the majority in parliament and pushed for the constitutional reforms on inclusive governance model and aspects of power-sharing, it would not have happened.
“The fact that the PNC has finally awakened... and I find it strange that Mr. Granger is saying that on behalf of the PNC, because I believe that the former PNC leader and present leader, Mr. (Robert) Corbin and Mr. (Desmond) Hoyte, were part of the many discussions that tried to deal with winner does not take all, and to find a model of governance that would lead to non-violent solutions to our differences and the creation of a deliberative parliament,” Teixeira emphasised.
Turning her attention to the current dispensation and what is taking place in the 10th parliament, she chided the opposition for not practising what they preach, since in a one-seat majority situation the opposition is behaving as though it is a winner-takes-all configuration.
She said she finds it ironic since the opposition has been using their power to control the happenings in the National Assembly.
She said if the opposition parties are truly not in favour of winner-takes-all then government expects that in parliament their attitude and behaviour will reflect that, which it does not.
Ever since the PPP/C administration had modified the constitution the PNC was the beneficiary of four parliamentary sectoral committees that allowed them to scrutinise the entire gamut of governmental operations, in real time. They were allowed a staff and could summon any government official or employee to their hearings.
They also became members of the parliamentary management committee, coupled with their membership and control of standing committees, such as the Public Accounts Committee and special select committees.
The opposition is in a stronger strategic position to influence governmental activities than all of their cohorts in the Commonwealth’s Westminster system of governance.
But the opposition never took full advantage of the new committees: this, after all, concluded Teixeira, would have necessitated them working more scrupulously to investigate the wild accusations and charges they were prone to making.
She said that before and during the election campaign, Granger and APNU swore that the PPP must be included in any future governance of the country if Guyana is to proceed on a sustainable path of development.
But in the first order of governmental business, now that the opposition secured a parliamentary majority – the selection of the Speaker of the House of Assembly – APNU did a complete volte’ face. It insisted that the opposition not only ignore Westminster conventions and blank the immediate past Speaker, Ralph Ramkarran, from the position, but for them to select both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker from the line of their ranks.
This move is certainly not a signal that the opposition is willing to share anything with the PPP under the new dispensation.
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