EYEWITNESS: Waiting to exhale…

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…on “no confidence” elections

Over in Britain, Theresa May lost the parliamentary vote on the treaty she’d negotiated to exit the EU (“Brexit”) by a whopping 200 votes. One hundred and eighteen MPs from her Conservative Party voted against her position while 3 Labourites joined her. But unlike in Guyana, where AFC’s Charrandas Persaud voted against his government, no one called anyone who voted against party line “traitors”, “Judas”, etc. Everyone accepted it was democracy at work.

After the massive defeat for May, Opposition Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn immediately announced he’d tabled a no-confidence motion against the Tory Government, which, however, he lost.

There were no death threats or the need for crossover voters to have protection to leave the Chamber. This is how civilised democracies conduct themselves – even in the absence of a written Constitution as in Britain.

But here in Guyana, where Article 106 (6) explicitly commands that the Cabinet SHALL resign on the successful passage of a no-confidence motion, the PNC Government took recourse to the Courts on two far-fetched claims under the principle of “trying a t’ing”! But this is just not how it’s done…our tradition in politics, as in cricket, follows that of England, where we “walk” when we’re given “out” by the umpire. The PNC Government’s action, while allowed, is just not done! But then, this is the PNC, which will hold on to power by hook or crook – especially the latter.

To her credit, the Chief Justice has promised to deliver her judgement in two weeks – which will still allow us to have the elections not too long after the “three months” specified by Article 106 (7). Obviously, your Eyewitness expects the CJ to do the right thing. The actual date, of course, will depend on whether the PNC appeals or not to the Appellate Court and then the CCJ. Even if these Courts act as expeditiously as the High Court, we’re talking about elections in June, when new MPs qualify for pensions!

It appears the army’s also of this opinion, since they’ve organised “exercises” across the country for that circumstance. But the notice has provided another reason why citizens are holding their breaths: the history of the army’s role in elections isn’t exactly comforting, to say the least! With Venezuela rattling sabres on our western border and threatening Exxon’s survey vessels in our waters, shouldn’t the GDF be conducting exercises in the Cuyuni region?

Your Eyewitness wonders whether – with all this tension in the air over the PNC’s reaction to their defeat in Parliament – Mash activities will be affected.
It’ll be most ironic to commemorate Republic Day with PNC street protests.

…on the “new” CJIA

The “new” CJIA was supposed to’ve been completed since Dec 31, 2017, according to the Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson. That date came and went, but no completed airport. After that, was it too much to ask that the MPI be on top of the contractor and ensure an accelerated work schedule? Evidently it was…since here we are, with Dec 31, 2018 behind us, and the airport’s still a work in progress!
And to add salt to the wound on our nation’s self-respect, the Government accepted a vastly TRUNCATED project from the original contract signed by the PPP for US$12 million LESS than the US$150 million the Government’s forking over. There are only four skybridges (hopefully!!) – less than the designed eight; there’s no new parking lot and the departure lounge was refurbished rather than rebuilt. The result induces claustrophobia, with ceilings almost touching one’s head!
A reminder of life under the PNC before leaving?!

…on the GECOM Chair

Since the topic of dual citizenship’s on the table for MPs, we should be reminded it also concerns the GECOM Chair and Commissioners. According to Art 161 (4), “A person shall be disqualified for appointment as (GECOM) Chairman or other member of the commission if he is an alien.”

Shall we bolt ALL the stable doors?

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