General election looms as APNU decides to support AFC’s no-confidence motion

General election looms as APNU decides to support AFC’s no-confidence motion

Tuesday, 05 August 2014 – by   – Demerara Waves

Parliament Building where the opposition's no-confidence motion will be debated and more than likely passed. Parliament Building where the opposition’s no-confidence motion will be debated and more than likely passed.

Guyanese could return to the polls later this year in an early general election after Tuesday’s decision by the opposition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) to support the Alliance For Change’s (AFC) no-confidence motion against the Donald Ramotar administration.

The Constitution states that on the House’s approval of a no-confidence motion, the President and Cabinet have to resign and make way for general and regional elections within three months.  

“The position of the Shadow Cabinet is to give support to the AFC…we have resolved to support it and we have to discuss it further with our own partners who have not yet been informed of our decision,” Opposition Leader, David Granger told Demerara Waves Online News shortly after wrapping up a Shadow Cabinet meeting.

The AFC has already formally informed President Donald Ramotar that it would be going ahead with the no-confidence motion because of the alleged unauthorized spending of billions of dollars from the Consolidated Fund on projects and programmes that have been already disapproved by the opposition-controlled House during consideration of the 2014 estimates of expenditures. Pending in the House is the approval of a Statement of Excesses for GUY$4.5 billion dollars that have been already spent so far.

Now that Granger’s parliamentary coalition has agreed to support the motion, which was submitted by the AFC on August 1, he said the next step would be internal consultations among APNU’s partners and another round of talks with the AFC to fine-tune the text of the motion. “We will have to work out with the AFC the full text. What we have is enough but we need to maybe flesh it out a little bit more but the whole idea is that in principle we have agreed to support the AFC,” he said.

With the 65-seat House expected to go into recess later this month, Granger expects parliamentarians to debate and approve the motion around October when sittings resume.  With the APNU deciding to add its 26 seats to the AFC’s seven, the motion is expected to be approved and so leave the governing People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) out in the cold with its 32 seats.

President Ramotar has repeatedly said that he is not afraid of going to back to the polls earlier than the constitutional deadline of 2016 to seek a fresh mandate from the electorate.  Passage of the no-confidence motion would trigger the resignation of the President and his Cabinet and a return to the polls.

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has already begun preparing a Voters List which would be valid until October 31, 2014. The PPPC and government have questioned the motive behind the electoral management body preparing the voters roll in the absence of an announcement by the President.

The Opposition Leader dismissed suggestions that APNU had attached conditions such as a pre-electoral alliance before deciding to lend its support to the motion.

Granger said APNU did not believe that an AFC complaint to the police against Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh for his alleged breach of the law and constitution in relation to using money from the Consolidated Fund in the way that he has done.

House Speaker, Raphael Trotman has already ruled that Singh should be sent to the Privileges Committee, a move that has seen government contemplating taking his decision to court because the issue is a legal and constitutional one rather than procedural.

Government has insisted that its spending of money and seeking the House’s approval for a Statement of Excess was not unprecedented and was in keeping with the Guyana Constitution and the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act.

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  • guyaneseonline  On 08/07/2014 at 2:44 am

    Corrupt and despotic PPP leadership fear loss of party control with Local Govt. elections
    Dear Editor,
    In 1992, the current hijackers of the PPP leadership, secure in power through a manipulated congress election in 2013 were in love with elections. Today, they will fight to their dying breath to prevent local government elections. Some have alluded to the despotic nature of the current PPP leadership as the reason for this refusal to call local government elections.
    They are correct. However, I feel the bigger reason is the fear of the PPP leadership of a loss of power from local government elections. There are many disgruntled PPP members, some of whom have been marginalized, ostracized and rejected by the inner core that controls the party. The padded delegate list that carefully selected and excluded party members, the fact that there were more ballots than voting delegates and the last minute disenfranchisement of delegates at the 2013 PPP congress, mirroring what happened at the 2014 PNC congress, further fueled this outrage.
    The current PPP leadership dominated by the Jagdeoite-Ramotarian clan is deathly afraid of facing its membership at local government elections. They know that many PPP members and groups will resist their handpicked candidates in many districts, triggering an open insurrection against the current cabal dominating Freedom House. They know that some PPP members will run against the failed and corrupt candidates Freedom House tries to impose on local communities.
    The Jagdeoites dominating the PPP know that immense pressure will be brought to bear by party members against the corrupt and failed leadership and that they could lose their hold on the party through the democracy of local government elections. Some party members will not vote in protest. Others will support independent candidates.
    Some will run as independents. The PPP also knows that local government elections will send a resounding rejection of its politics, making it even more vulnerable in the coming national election in 2016. So, this is the real reason for the PPP’s refusal to call local government elections. The Jagdeoite cabal running Freedom House with its Stalinist practices are afraid of facing their own party members. In an attempt to save their own skin, they are willing to refuse their own party members the freedom of participating in local government elections.
    Some have publicly expressed the rumour that President Ramotar will try to delay any no-confidence vote election until the 2016 general election. If this is to occur, it would partly be because he is deathly afraid the Jagdeoites will remove him as a candidate in any new election before 2016 and partly because of the undemocratic nature of the PPP. The risk with trying to delay by court action a legitimate no-confidence vote that constitutionally triggers new elections is that it puts the PPP into the realm of illegitimacy and illegality.
    At that point, the PPP conceivably will not have any constitutional power over the armed forces of this country, which could act in accordance with the constitution and force the PPP to either call the election right away or step down from power. Similarly, any civil protest against PPP refusal to step down would be legitimate. The constitution is clear on a no-confidence vote. It does not accommodate any delaying tactic. If a no-confidence motion is passed, the opposition must ensure it passes as part of the motion that elections must be called by the constitutionally prescribed time and that failure to do so is constitutional transgression.
    M. Maxwell

  • N.Augustus  On 08/07/2014 at 5:57 pm

    “The padded delegate list that carefully selected and excluded party members, the fact that there were more ballots than voting delegates and the last minute disenfranchisement of delegates at the 2013 PPP congress, mirroring what happened at the 2014 PNC congress, further fueled this outrage” Seems like Guyana is left with the AFC with their own conflict of interest actions, since Maxwell charges the PPP and PNC with undomocratic practices. Some choices voters are left with, like what is better incompetence, corruption or dictatorial rule? Let the games begin and god help Guyana. Just saying.

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