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|Speaker optimistic about resumption of tripartite talks|
|Sunday, 24 June 2012 20:55|
SPEAKER of the National Assembly, Raphael Trotman, has expressed optimism that tripartite talks which are set to resume on Tuesday between the government, A Partnership For National Unity (APNU) and Alliance For Change (AFC) would bear some fruit.
During a media conference at the Regency Suites on Friday last, Trotman said he was hopeful that the issue of the President’s refusal to sign opposition bills would be discussed.
He deemed President Donald Ramotar’s recent comment -- refusal to sign opposition bills into law if government does not have a say in crafting them -- as a sign of “frustration” with the slim, one-seat, opposition-controlled, 65-seat National Assembly.
“I think it’s a statement perhaps borne out of frustration that he feels that government is being pressed to the wall, and I would say perhaps bad advice, a combination of the two,” Trotman told the media.
The Speaker argued that the Assembly is empowered to pass laws for the President to assent, unless there is good reason not to do so.
“If you are to understand the concept of the separation of powers -- the legislature has the right to pass laws; and as President, unless he can show very good and exceptional reasons why he shouldn’t assent to them, he ought to,” Trotman explained.
President Ramotar has also cited the separation of powers, but from the perspective that the opposition does not have a right to pass laws without the input of the executive.
Trotman believes that despite statements like Ramotar’s, the National Assembly would be allowed to fulfil its mandate, because government has demonstrated a willingness to be engaged across party lines.
“Despite the rhetoric and what is in the public domain, there are good thoughts and views being expressed,” he said.
Trotman noted that government parliamentarians had participated in Friday’s workshop on working with parliamentary oversight committees like the Public Accounts Committee.
Presidential Advisor on Governance, Ms Gail Teixeira, and Minister within the Ministry of Finance, Juan Edghill, participated on Thursday in a parliamentary meeting with members of the donor community.
“Despite the rhetoric and what’s happening in the public domain, there are good thoughts and views being expressed… We are not getting a sense that government is withdrawing necessarily,” he said.
“I think there is the public posture and then there is the private posture… The two are not necessarily the same, and I would like to say that there are encouraging signs that we are making progress,” Trotman added.
He disclosed that government parliamentarians were attending meetings of various committees, although a High Court ruling in favour of the opposition is now before the Court of Appeal. He promised to remain engaged with the President.