Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo earlier today slammed the rhetoric by Government members and other coalition supporters that a 34:32 vote was needed as “majority” over the actuality of “33:32” votes, to have the “No confidence” motion passed.
According to Jagdeo, this interpretation of the Constitution is “utter stupidity”, noting that it shows the desperation of the Government.
“33 is a majority over 32…that’s for ordinary people…It doesn’t say anywhere that a majority plus 1 in our constitution,” he said during his weekly press conference at his Church Street, Georgetown office.
Jagdeo further posited that the practice of accepting a 33:32 majority has been “throughout the life of Parliament”, lamenting that even the current Speaker, Barton Scotland followed this.
“The current speaker felt the motion had passed…he said to the national assembly..the motion has been carried…The speaker and clerk are in charge of the legislative branch of the Parliament…You can’t have a half man or half a woman in parliament…this is not about fractions…who exercises half vote in parliament?” he questioned.
On December 21, the no-confidence motion brought by the Parliamentary Opposition –the People’s Progressive Party (PPP/C) – against the Government succeeded when former AFC Member of Parliament Charrandas Persaud broke ranks and made a conscience vote in favour of the motion.
President David Granger has already committed to following the provisions outlined in the constitution, facilitating early elections and engaging in dialogue with the Leader of the Opposition, upon his return from Cuba where he departed for treatment.
Since the passage of the motion on December 21, however, persons aligned with the coalition party have sought to question the motion’s validity even as the vote has already been certified.
The original proponent of the 34-vote argument is Attorney Nigel Hughes, a former AFC Chairman, who is also the husband of Government Minister Cathy Hughes. Since then, Government has held on to this explanation like a lifeline.