Issues with gov’t have to be raised at ‘source of power’, not Parliament – Norton

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Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton continues to press for a more broad-based engagement with President Dr. Irfaan Ali, emphasising that issues relating to the welfare of people must be raised with the “source of power.”

After President Ali indicated that he will soon engage the new Opposition Leader on constitutional matters, Norton said that those talks should extend to a wider range of issues including governance and even the “abuse of political power.”

But former Speaker of the National Assembly Ralph Ramkarran, in his weekly column, wrote that the issues that Norton is seeking to discuss with President Ali would be better handled in a parliamentary committee.

Norton, during a virtual press conference on Tuesday, disagreed with the former Speaker.

“These matters must be dealt with at the source of power.

“They must be dealt with at the level of the President, or he who wields the power from behind the throne,” the Opposition Leader said.

Norton further contended that it would be useless to engage the President on constitutional matters if concerns relating to the practice of democracy or the rule of law were not ironed out as well.

“Given this dire emergency in the country’s governance and democracy, it would be a gross dereliction of duty, responsibility, and morality on the part of the Leader of the Opposition and the entire APNU+AFC coalition not to raise these issues at every opportunity in the hope of rescuing this nation on behalf of the people.”

The Opposition Leader did, however, state that discussions on the appointment of judges and commissioners – which are among those constitutional matters the President is seeking to engage Norton on – are crucial.

He said that these discussions can be a “standalone agenda item.”

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