Guyana will vote in general and regional elections to pick a new government in early 2015, according to President Donald Ramotar. Speaking to the local media on Saturday, the president said this will be his next step following his prorogation of Guyana’s parliament on November 10, stating, “We will go to elections.”
The date will be confirmed for those elections very early in 2015, said the president, who hinted that it could be revealed during his New Year’s address to the nation. The head of state explained that the decision to confirm a date in 2015 was intended to ensure Guyanese Christmas spirit isn’t dampened.
Addressing the media on Saturday, Ramotar said, “We will not disrupt and damper the Christmas spirit with the evident purposeless parliamentary debates.”
The president said that the objectives of the prorogation were lost with the parliamentary opposition’s refusal to engage in any dialogue. He explained that his previous decision was to preserve the life of the tenth Parliament, “so as to provide the political parties therein, another opportunity to address, to finality, the many issues that yet failed to have full parliamentary consideration.”
These issues included the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism legislation, the Amaila Falls Hydro Power Project, the Education and Telecommunication bills and Financial Expenditure of Public Funds Act.
The reaction of the parliamentary opposition was disappointing, according to Ramotar, who added that efforts were made to discredit him and deem his actions as unconstitutional.
“I wrote the leader of the opposition, I addressed the nation, I hosted stakeholders, my administration more than justified the resort to prorogation,” he said.
It was noted that prorogation also enabled more Guyanese to be enfranchised, even after the completion of the sixth round of Guyana Elections Commission’s (GECOM) continuous registration. This period also saw the rejection of his formal invitation to the main opposition leader David Granger to engage in dialogue, the negative response being sent to the president on December 4, following his invitation for dialogue on November 18.
It was following Granger’s response that Ramotar said his “reasoning was cemented” as to the way forward. He said he will consult with GECOM on its readiness to hold the elections and has already written the international community signaling his intention to go to the polls, along with his desire to have observer missions fielded.
Ramotar said he is confident of winning the next elections and also sure of regaining a parliamentary majority. He explained that Guyanese have learnt over the last three years from the outcomes, or lack thereof, of having a majority opposition.