Talks between the government and the political opposition on constitutional matters have been stalled, owing to the opposition’s non-recognition of the government’s legitimacy but the upcoming appointments for various constitutional bodies are seen as testing grounds for the opposition.
This is according to the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance Gail Teixeira, who commented on the lack of dialogue between President Dr. Irfaan Ali and the Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon during a Guyana News Agency Insider interview aired on Sunday night.
As has been reasoned by the President before, Minister Teixeira said that any attempt to engage in this necessary dialogue must be grounded in some principles. And, a paramount principle, she said, is a recognition of the parties involved.
“When you call me illegitimate, the first principle is gone,” she lamented.
Harmon has indicated that he is prepared to meet with Ali in the national interest but still maintains non-recognition of the PPP/C Government.
And, Teixeira later added, “We don’t disregard (the APNU + AFC opposition) as a legitimate force in the country.”
Minister Teixeira, however, underscored that the appointments needed for the various constitutional bodies, such as the Police Service Commission (PSC) and the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), would illustrate the willingness for meaningful engagement.
“For me, these are the testing grounds to segregate the noise out there from the pragmatism of politics in making appointments,” she stated firmly.
Meanwhile, the minister also lamented that accusations against the government, particularly those of racism and discrimination, have made discussions difficult.
“… when you listen to the statements in New York, they are not helpful.
“How can you say that you want to talk to us and you’re calling us racist, saying you’re going to bring us down, you’re going to make us ungovernable? What kind of atmosphere is that for discussions?” she said.
She was referring to the demonstration titled “Anti-PPP Racism March & Rally” held in Brooklyn, New York, recently.
President Ali, when asked by the News Room, described that rally as “an event filled with lies, hate and race-baiting.”
He was particularly concerned that a member of the US congress- Hakeem Jeffries- would be part of that rally, which appeared to be an assault on a legitimately elected government and without the merit of proof to substantiate allegations made.
Despite the foregoing, Minister Teixeira was optimistic that the needed dialogue would take place. In fact, she said, “At some point the PNC are going to come along, they have to come along.”
The People’s National Congress Reform (PNC/R) is the largest party in the APNU+AFC Coalition.
She also said that the government would be moving ahead with its plans for development and would continue engagements with civil society, local government bodies and the community.