Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has dismissed the New Democratic Party’s (NDP) announcement that opposition lawmakers will not co-operate with his government on anything, except the next general elections, constitutionally due in December 2015.
MP for Central Kingstown, St. Clair Leacock, a vice-president of the NDP announced the suspension of co-operation during his party’s “Ring De Bell” rally in Kingstown on Thursday.
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“Frankly, they are just being foolish; they are not thinking at all,” Gonsalves told I-Witness News on Saturday.
“So, basically, what they are out for is political war. But, we in the government, we are not interested in political war; we are interested in the good governance of the country in the interest of the people. And we will hold out, as we have always been doing, the hand of co-operation to the opposition,” Gonsalves said.
He, however, accused the opposition of being unable to suspend co-operation.
“You can’t suspend or stop co-operation which you have not been giving,” Gonsalves said.
“From the 27th of July 2007, when they stopped co-operating on the constitutional review process, the NDP has stopped co-operating on anything,” Gonsalves told I-Witness News.
He said the position announced by the opposition will not affect his party’s legislative agenda.
“There is no legislation, normally in the House that you need the support of the opposition. … We have 13 [Members] and they have nine. And because it is a unicameral House, and because of the way the Constitution is fashioned, the only things that senators and the attorney general can’t vote on is if there is a matter relating [to a vote of] no-confidence.
“But everything else, all the bills, including money bills, the Appropriation Bill, the moving of the Estimates, all you need is simple majority in the House,” Gonsalves told I-Witness News.
“So, if things which come to the House, which are eminently reasonable, … and they say they are not supporting, that will tell you where they are,” Gonsalves said.
“We saw how they functioned in relation to the [Christmas Eve] disaster. They could have said the disaster in 2010, because it was on the eve of the elections they play their politics.
“But the disaster in April 2011 and the Christmas Eve disaster, they did their own thing and they opposed everything that we did,” Gonsalves said.
He noted that the opposition was offended when, after the Christmas disaster, he said all soldiers must “report for duty”.
“You heard how they treated that as though I was asking them somehow to go to the place called hell. The men were just visceral in their rejection.
“Since the 27th of July 2007, the fellows have not co-operated with us on really anything. … The fact that they may vote on the same side as us in a bill, it doesn’t mean that that is co-operation. But the way they now state their position that the only thing they are co-operating — which I understand to mean supporting — on is when I call the election is a ridiculous position for the opposition to take.
“So all they are concerned about is to oppose, to expose and to depose. They don’t want to co-operate and to involve in anything to propose. It’s just naked quest for power. And people see that for what it is,” Gonsalves said.
He further said the opposition has outlined its position “at a time when the lord bishop of the Anglican Church and other people are calling for reconciliation in the aftermath of the NDP disrupting the funeral for Lynch”.
Some persons booed Gonsalves when was called to deliver a tribute at the July 19 funeral of E.G. Lynch, a former NDP radio talk show host.