Democracy will breathe again

Government MP, Sanjeev Datadin
Government MP, Sanjeev Datadin

– Datadin tells National Assembly

(Guyanachronicle)GOVERNMENT Member of Parliament (MP), Sanjeev Datadin, said, on Monday, that the measures outlined in Budget 2020 will strengthen democracy and the rule of law in Guyana.

Datadin, a lawyer by profession, told the National Assembly, in his inaugural address, that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration is on a mission to restore the rule of law which has been blatantly eroded over the past five years.

In the five months following the March 2 General and Regional Elections, the world watched the breakdown of the rule of law in Guyana and the threat to its democracy at the hands of the former APNU+AFC government, he added.

Before that, Datadin reminded that many months passed before the APNU+AFC Administration accepted that it fell as a result of a successful no-confidence motion. These acts, he told the House, are unacceptable and should not have occurred as only the Guyanese people suffered as a result.

“Mr. Speaker, we cannot wait for the period December 21, 2018 to June 18, 2019 for a government and for the leadership of a country to figure out 33 is the majority of 65. We cannot wait 179 days for leaders to appreciate, understand, and apply the most elementary principles of Mathematics. The rule of law was undermined because the Coalition Government of the day wanted not to respect the Constitution,” Datadin said.

He said, too, that the expenditure of the former administration during this period without the parliamentary oversight leaves many questions as to the legality of its transactions.

Added to this, Datadin said that it took another 20 days from June 18, 2020 to July 8, 2020 for the APNU+AFC to understand that Article 177 of the Constitution was obvious and that the votes had to be counted.

The attorney-at-law appeared confident and comfortable addressing the House for the first time, perhaps as a result of his years of experience in addressing the courts.

He said that, in any country, the law must apply to everyone including those who make them and, with the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration at the helm, rule of law, as well as democracy, will thrive in Guyana.

“The Honourable Member, Mr. Trotman, has said that no weapon formed against APNU+AFC will prosper. I humbly submit to you, he’s wrong. It has been formed already, it’s called the Caribbean Court of Justice and that weapon has stood for the people of Guyana and against the destruction of the rule of law and it continues to do so,” the MP said.

He added that since the no-confidence motion there have been four cases that engaged the court in which lawyers represented the government and were paid for by the people of Guyana. He said: “No government should be permitted to undermine the will of the people and to use the court system as an instrument of oppression, to delay, to undermine, the declaration of an election result.”

Datadin put forward that the presentation of Budget 2020 is a monumental step to restoring the rule of law and democratic principles in the country which have been under threat since December 2018.

He said that budget 2020 represents the restoration of Parliamentary oversight over government spending and the restoration of constitutional mandate.

Datadin emphasised: “The mere presentation of a budget in this House represents the democratic principles and Guyana must be proud that this is being undertaken. Guyana must be proud that it is being undertaken in the record time with which it is.”

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It is estimated that over one million Guyanese, when counting their dependents, live outside of Guyana.  This exceeds the population of Guyana, which is now about 750,000.  Many left early in the 50’s and 60’s while others went with the next wave in the 70’s and 80’s.  The latest wave left over the last 20 years. This outflow of Guyanese, therefore, covers some three generations. This outflow still continues today, where over 80 % of U.G. graduates now leave after graduating.  We hope this changes, and soon.

Guyanese, like most others, try to keep their culture and pass it on to their children and grandchildren.  The problem has been that many Guyanese have not looked back, or if they did it was only fleetingly.  This means that the younger generations and those who left at an early age know very little about Guyana since many have not visited the country.  Also, if they do get information about Guyana, it is usually negative and thus the cycle of non-interest is cultivated.

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