Prime Gaston Browne Adopts Hands Off Approach to Guyana Government’s Decision to Prorogue Parliament

New York Caribbean Democracy Body Slams Caricom Chairman, Prime Minister Gaston Brown of Antigua & Barbuda, for “uninformed and vacuous” Comments On Political Crisis In Guyana

(L-to-R) Prime Minister Gaston Browne, CGID-President Rickford-Burke & Guyana's President Donald Ramotar

(L-to-R) Prime Minister Gaston Browne, CGID-President Rickford-Burke & Guyana’s President Donald Ramotar

NEW YORK: The New York based Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID) has said the assertion by Caricom Chairman, Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua & Barbuda, that Caricom “respects the right of Guyana’s President Donald Ramotar to prorogue Parliament and is not “too concerned,” are “repugnant to the constitution and people of Guyana, and incongruous with democratic values.”

CGID President Rickord Burke in a statement Saturday slammed Brown’s comments as “uninformed and vacuous.” He accused Caricom of demonstrating partiality towards the ruling People’s Progressive Party (PPP). “Mr. Brown’s comments evince tacit support for the PPP’s repression of the elected representatives of the people,” the statement added.

Ramotar on November 10th abruptly suspended the nation’s Parliament to prevent the passage of a no-confidence motion against his government.  The edict came as Members of Parliament (MP) assembled to debate the motion by the opposition Alliance for Change (AFC).

The combined opposition controls the 65 seat House with a majority of 33 seat; 7 from the AFC and 26 from the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU).  The government is in the minority with 32 seats. All 33 opposition MPs registered their support for the motion. Hence its passage was guaranteed. Had the motion passed, the government would have had to resign immediately and call general elections within 90 days. Guyana’s presidential and parliamentary elections are separate but simultaneous. The party with a plurality of votes in the presidential elections attains the presidency and forms the government.

Ramotar, in an address to the nation on December 6th, vowed not to recall the Parliament but failed to call elections. Opposition leaders promptly branded him as a dictator who is acting extra-constitutionally to hang on to power. They demanded that the embattled President set a date for elections – a demand that Ramotar has obdurately ignored.

Stabroek News Friday quoted Prime Minister Brown as saying Caricom will “respect the President’s judgment and Constitutional right,” to suspend the legislative branch of government.” He also said Caricom will be keenly watching how the situation plays out in the coming months and should Ramotar renege on his commitment to name a date for General Elections, Caricom is committed to engaging as mediators. Brown held that Caricom was sufficiently satisfied that the Ramotar’s decision was not intended as an abuse of power and that the community was duly satisfied that the creation of an autocratic state was not the intention behind the prorogation.

Burke questioned if Brown is “omniscient and can divine Ramotar’s intent.” He added that “The Prime Minister’s comments unfortunately portray him as unschooled about the democratic ethos and indifferent to the people of Guyana, whose fundamental rights have been subjugated by the Ramotar regime.”

Burke, a former top aide to Guyana’s late President Desmond Hoyte, asserted that the Parliament is constrained by the constitution to recall any government that commits material violations of the law. He further argued that Ramotar is abusing his power to obstruct the constitutionally sanctioned impeachment process. He contended that Ramotar in effect dissolved the Parliament but is calling it a “prorogation” to avoid calling elections. He opined that Ramotar and his Cabinet have lost legitimacy, and that the constitution in the instant circumstance dictates that the government must resign and call elections within 90 days.

The CGID President said that regardless of what Brown claims the result of the constitutional breakdown Guyana is the emergence of an authoritarian State and a creeping dictator who is ruling by decree. “It is disgraceful for Caricom to countenance a lawless dictatorship that has imposed “one party rule” in the Member State where the Community has its headquarters”, he maintained.

Burke said that “if a mere expression of intent to call elections has arguably assuaged Caricom Leaders, then those Leaders are credulous and apathetic to the abridgment of the inalienable rights of a majority of Guyanese.” This posture, he posited, is analogous to abandonment of the “Caricom Charter of Civil Societies” and the democratic process.

“I am left to ponder whether or not Prime Minister Brown believes that the arbitrary suspension of his nation’s Parliament, that is designed to obstruct the people’s elected representatives from fulfilling a constitutional mandate, would be acceptable to the good people of Antigua & Barbuda,” Burke questioned.

11 comments

  • These Caricom leaders are mocksticks.

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  • John Hanson 1781-1782- I SERVE 1788- 1792 BARBADOES.

    David,,The Mocksticks starts in Barbados, With the Crooks that send Fraud all into Caricom , Prime Minister of Barbados will need to watch his own words until He does better,

    A more can be said of Barbados at this point ,Guyana have more free press than Barbados and the people will speak out,

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  • Caricom assuaged by Ramotar’s announcement on polls – Chairman

    DECEMBER 11, 2014 · BY PUSHPA BALGOBIN · 33 COMMENTS NEXT

    Caricom’s Chairman, Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne said that given President Donald Ramotar’s assurances that he will make an announcement on General Elections early in 2015 the community is “not too concerned at this point” over the prorogation of the Guyanese Parliament.

    He told Stabroek News during a phone interview yesterday from his office in Antigua and Barbuda, that Caricom will “respect the President’s judgment and Constitutional right,” to suspend the legislative branch of government. He said that at this point the community will be keenly watching the development of the situation and how it plays out in the coming months and should Ramotar renege on his commitment to name a date for General Elections, Caricom is committed to engaging as mediators.

    Browne stated that the current political crisis in Guyana was raised by Ramotar himself on Monday at a meeting of the Heads of Government during the Fifth Caricom-Cuba Summit held in Havana.

    Stabroek News asked the Chairman how such a decision by the President though constitutionally permissible was acceptable as it had resulted in a suspension of the National Assembly for a month now preventing the body of elected officials from meeting and conducting work on behalf of the people. Browne said that Caricom was not looking to aggravate any of the parties involved including government and that Guyana’s parliamentary prorogation was a domestic issue.

    He said that Caricom was sufficiently satisfied that the President’s decision was not intended as an abuse of power and that given Ramotar’s assurances that he will call general elections in 2015 the President’s decisions had to be respected.

    Gaston Browne

    Gaston Browne

    Caricom’s Chairman spoke about the long history of democracy in the region and that as a regional body Caricom was committed to “respect the democratic traditions of the Caribbean.”

    He said that that while Ramotar spoke in Havana, the community was duly satisfied that the creation of an autocratic state was not the intention behind the prorogation.

    Observers note that Ramotar’s decision to hold a press briefing at State House on Saturday and stating that he would make an announcement in early 2015 on general elections was a pre-emptive move by the administration to defuse any questioning by leaders at the Caricom summit.

    Browne remained optimistic and refrained from speaking on how Caricom would proceed should the regional body not be impressed with Ramotar’s future handling in of the Parliamentary prorogation. He also declined to elaborate on correspondence with the government or members of the opposition.

    Both opposition groups, A Partnership for National Unity and the Alliance For Change (AFC) had written to Caricom to express concerns and as part of their joint decision to internationalise the issue.

    Leader of the Opposition David Granger has urged that an emergency meeting of Heads of Government of Caricom be convened “to consider a collective approach to the governance crisis in Guyana.” Caricom Secretary General Irwin La Rocque told Stabroek News on November 29, that he had received a letter from Granger and AFC leader Khemraj Ramjattan requesting that he bring certain matters to the attention of the Caricom Heads of Government. Asked whether the matter would likely be discussed at the next summit of Caricom Heads of Government, La Rocque said that he did not know as there is no agenda yet.

    Meanwhile, as it stands the stalemate between the opposition and government remains. Granger formally declined to speak with Ramotar via a letter on Monday. In the letter Granger reiterated the opposition’s stance that there will be no discussions until the prorogation has ended.

    Ramotar has held fast to the constitutional propriety of his decision noting that prorogation was the only way to stave off the no-confidence motion by the AFC and continue with the parliamentary agenda. He had stated that during the prorogation, discussions between government and the opposition could occur.

    The opposition responded by stating that suspending one of the branches of government then requesting talks was a form of dictatorship.

    http://www.stabroeknews.com/2014/news/stories/12/11/caricom-assuaged-ramotars-announcement-polls-chairman/

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  • I thought a delegation comprising the AFC and APNU should have gone to the HOG meeting and lobby the support of these Caricom leaders so called.
    It is clear that Browne is sitting on the fence.Being the new kid on the block and without a reputation for calling a spade a spade,Browne is out of his depth.Anyone following the Guyana scene will know its a failed state.Any country which has postponed holding Local Government elections for 20 years despite promising to do so for the same 20 years is a failed state.
    The people of Guyana need the support of their Caricom partners.What passes for governance in Guyana is just a naked power grab by a bunch of hooligan indo-canecutters.Trinidad and Guyana suffer because Indian indentured labourers play the ethnic card and divide these people of their right to proper democratic government.Indian or African,you are all citizens entitled to protection from unscrupulous and corrupt crooked politicians.

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  • It was predicted by the pundits Guyana and Barbados would have weak governments given the election result. Romatar has the executive but the other parties control the Assembly. Stuart and the DLP won by two seats by a non existent backbench makes it impossible for Stuart to flex the power of his office.

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  • John Hanson 1781-1782- I SERVE 1788- 1792 BARBADOES.

    David | December 14, 2014 at 7:35 AM |
    Stuart and the DLP won by WAY OF VOTE BUYING FRAUD, these word must follow any word of elections “Fraud,”
    next the DLP PIMP Minister is using what power he have to cover up the doings of the BLP before him, Now at this time just want to enjoy the Fraud of CLICO , Guyana need to Sue Barbados for the Massive Fraud they exported to Guyana and TnT ,To recover all links to this massive land fraud.
    Barbados is the Root cause of the CC Islands status at this time,
    Many of the Same government Ministers at the time of Owen and MIA maybe also in these Fraud Investments,
    The Government Before PM Brown who came in to clean up the Fraud of the Billion Dollar Men as in Sir Standford and Sir CO Williams , We know that money hangs out with money , Supported By Sir Crook Sir Ham lawyers.
    Sagicor of Barbados again is looking to fill the gap of CLICO in Guyana , headed to fool Guyana again ,
    Once again Barbados need to study their Own Fraud and clean it up before looking to put in print Other CC Nations dirt .
    All Barbados to do is look under their feet to know they are walking on Fraud,From the time tourist land till they drive to the beach or Sandy Lane ,to Mount Gay,to the standing Rock in the sea , Just follow the white people and see where they stay to see the fraud, Go to any UDC or NHC buildings and see the Fraud, all you have to do is Point,

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  • @Deeds

    We know the CUP is aware vote buying or not the CUP was NEVER in the running. Oh shiirte!!!

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  • John Hanson 1781-1782- I SERVE 1788- 1792 BARBADOES.

    David of BU,. We know you like to goat us in to some things without asking .The CUP is always and forever in the Running , We are not running with or for Fraud.
    Maybe most did not see the set up with a 2 week elections , When most places of government as told by those in charge that we need 2 weeks notice,

    So for the BLP and DLP have their own notice and know ahead of time when places to be rented , They book ahead of time ,
    So we did not have 2 weeks and most all places were rented ahead of time,

    The NEWS CBC , Papers, Radio did not let the CUP do nothing to let people know of the Massive wrong doings,
    We Now see the Play and will be ready Next Time,
    This is the time for Enlighten the People of Barbados , Each and everyday they see and have proof of theses Crooks
    We will hope they dont listen to joke , name calling and get drunk next time , This is a time to learn and remember. fool you one BLP or twice , Fool you once or twice DLP , Tell you the truth one time The CUP,

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  • The Stuart cabinet is too large hence there can never be any elbow room to appoint or disappoint,if by that you mean room to manouvre.
    Is it not informative that Barbados with a cabinet of 20,the largest in its short history of cabinet government,has the reputation of being the least affective ever.James Paul must be wondering why he won a seat fair and square but is not acceptable to be a minister.The fact that there are 4 senators with ministerial status,2 of whom almost lost their deposit,one of whom is a Judas Iscariot and who cannot be trusted if we are to hear it from the House itself,another of whom instead of addressing the concerns of the citizens of Barbados continue to regale us with stories of her son this and her son that,should awaken James Paul to the fact that he and Estwick
    got Fumble aka Dumb Boy,by his cojones and should use their positions as leverage to pull Barbados from the brink of disaster which is coming on Tuesday 16th December 2014.Walk on Tuesday Estwick.Walk on Tuesday Paul,if wunna have balls!And insist OSA go back over with wunna as PM Mia as Justice Minister ,Paul as Min of Agri,Estwick as MoF and Econ Development.

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  • It is obvious Ramotar has suspended parliament to avoid dealing with the Opposition, a clear obstruction to the democratic process. The same in St. Kitts. We are a bunch of banana republics.

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  • And as the late EWB said” a bunch of political bandits”

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