….as WPO urges Govt to respect Constitution, set election date
….former President warns that instability threatens economy
Both the Women’s Progressive Organisation (WPO) and former President Donald Ramotar have issued calls for the Government to respect the constitutional provisions after it lost a no-confidence vote brought by the parliamentary Opposition.
According to the WPO in a statement, the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Cabinet should resign with immediate effect, in keeping with Article 106 (6) of the Constitution of Guyana.
The Organisation, which is the women’s arm of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), also urged that a date be set for general and regional elections, which are constitutionally due within 90 days of the December 21 no-confidence vote.
It reminded that President David Granger and Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo had promised they would abide by the constitutional provisions. The Organisation quoted Granger verbatim, noting that he said on December 22, 2018 that his “government will abide by the stipulations which have been imposed on it following the passing of the no-confidence motion…”
“In the National Assembly on the night of the 21st December, 2018, the Leader of the Government business in the Parliament, the Prime Minister, recorded similar sentiments immediately after the motion was successfully carried,” they added.
“The Government fell and lost its right to manage the affairs of the country. Baseless and frivolous arguments are now being touted by those who seek to confuse and give a false sense of hope to their supporters. No amount of spin can cast any doubt of the demise of the Government and the ensuing resignation which must occur.”
The women’s organisation, therefore, called on the Government to “stop the charade” and to meet urgently with Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo in order to ensure elections could be held.
Meanwhile, former President Ramotar warned that continuing uncertainty about Guyana’s political situation could have disastrous effects on the country’s economy. According to Ramotar, APNU/AFC is trying to frustrate the Constitution and the country as a whole, which will in turn affect investor confidence.
“They must resign now! (Current Foreign Affairs Minister) Carl Greenidge in a comment when, in 2014 the AFC tabled a no-confidence motion, put it over strongly. He said that when a no-confidence motion is passed, the Government should resign immediately and prepare for elections! This is what the APNU/AFC Government must do now! This is the law!
“I wish to recall that in 2014 when the no-confidence motion was put against the government that I led, I had prorogued the Parliament. I explained that I did this to allow some discussions between the Government and the Opposition in the interest of Guyana,” the former President stated.
According to Ramotar, APNU/AFC refused to talk back then. Ramotar noted that having failed to get them to the table, he decided to call General and Regional Elections rather than extend the prorogation and his Government’s tenure.
“I did that, because I was aware that with the best of intentions that my administration had, such an act could have led to political instability. Political instability would have negatively affected the economic progress of Guyana. For me that was unacceptable! To me, nothing should be done to affect the welfare of our people.”
“If the leaders of the APNU/AFC have an iota of concern for our people, they must demonstrate this by resigning immediately and allow for the mandated general elections within the 90 days’ period as stipulated by the Constitution. If this is not done now, the confidence in the economy will decline even further.”
Ramotar warned that if money from investors dried up, unemployment rates would increase since no investments equated to reduced job creation. As such, he urged Government to do the “lawful and decent thing” and resign.
On December 21, the no-confidence motion brought by the parliamentary Opposition – the PPP/Civic – against the Government succeeded when Charrandas Persaud, a former AFC Member of Parliament, broke ranks and made a conscience vote in favour of the motion.
With the Government’s defeat, the next steps are spelt out in the Constitution of Guyana. Article 106 (6) of the Constitution states: “The Cabinet including the President shall resign if the Government is defeated by the vote of a majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly on a vote of confidence.”
Meanwhile, clause 7 goes on to state that “Notwithstanding its defeat, the Government shall remain in office and shall hold an election within three months, or such longer period as the National Assembly shall by resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of the votes of all the elected members of the National Assembly determine, and shall resign after the President takes the oath of office following the election.”