Opposition elects Speaker, Deputy Speaker of Guyana parliament
President Donald Ramotar said the agreement reached between the opposition parties goes against the convention in parliamentary democracies.
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Friday January 13, 2012 - Attorney Raphael Trotman has become the first opposition member to be elected Speaker of the National Assembly after his colleagues rejected the nominee put forward by the incumbent Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C).
The opposition coalition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) joined with Trotman’s Alliance For Change (AFC) to secure the majority vote. The APNU and the AFC control 26 and seven seats respectively in the 65-member parliament.
President Donald Ramotar has insisted that the agreement reached between the parties goes against the convention in parliamentary democracies where the governing party with the largest number of votes and seats is elected Speaker of the National Assembly.
“This gross violation of an established convention is not a healthy development in this new dispensation,” the President noted.
“It must be recalled that when the PPP/C had an outright majority over the combined opposition, we were magnanimous by allowing the opposition to hold the position of Deputy Speaker based on our respect for parliamentary democracy,” he explained.
The PPP/C said its nominee Senior Counsel Ralph Ramkarran had years of experience and exemplified all the qualities that a Speaker should possess.
In his speech to parliament, Trotman, the AFC leader said political bias should be set aside in the interest of the country.
“I expect that we'll work cooperatively, diligently, maturely and of course set aside our partisan ways. I know that it is easier said than done but I look forward to seeing a vibrant 10th Parliament,” he stated.
The APNU, which withdrew its candidate - Deborah Backer - for the Speaker post, pledged to continue supporting Trotman. Backer was later nominated Deputy Speaker.
AFC Chairman Khemraj Ramjattan acknowledged that APNU support was critical in having Trotman elected.
“I'm not being critical of any other person but I want also to thank them for ensuring that this day happened,” Ramjattan said of the opposition coalition party.