World Bulletin/News Desk
Guyana on Thursday declared Britain's envoy a "pariah" after he suggested London could withdraw development aid over President Donald Ramotar's suspension of parliament last year.
Ramotar in November took the rare constitutional move of "proroguing" parliament to avoid a no-confidence vote, a move heavily criticized as a threat to democracy in the former British colony on the north east shoulder of South America.
The 64-year-old president insists the measure is constitutional, and his government has described British High Commissioner Andrew Ayre's comments on the issue as an infringement of sovereignty.
"High Commissioner Ayre is terribly dishonorable, knowingly misrepresenting prorogation in Guyana as a crime," Roger Luncheon, of the Guyanese presidential office, told reporters.
"He needs to be accorded the status of pariah, and his departure is eagerly awaited by the government," Luncheon added, calling the threat to withdraw aid "dastardly."
Ayre was anyway scheduled to return to Britain this month.
The High Commissioner's Office did not respond to requests for comment.
Ayre said in a press conference this week that Britain was concerned over the suspension of parliament.
"Against the background of our doubts about the process that is taking place here, there is a reluctance to send development funds," he said, without giving figures. "Of course there is. How can we even justify that to our own tax payers?"
High Commissioners are the top British diplomats to countries belonging to the Commonwealth of Nations, most of which are former British colonies.
Guyana opposition parties, which have a small legislative majority, in November called a no-confidence vote to protest spending of some $22.5 million without parliamentary approval
Ramotar in response prorogued parliament, leaving the 65-member body suspended but not dissolved. At the time he argued he had "given democracy a better opportunity to breathe."
The decision could force him to call elections before the next scheduled vote next year.
Guyana has a population of just 740,000 people. Much of the country is covered in dense jungle, the site of both legal and clandestine gold, diamond and bauxite mining.Last Mod: 16 Ocak 2015, 12:57