No confidence challenge can be read as Govt’s attempt to remain in power, should be quickly resolved- WPA

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Executive Members of the WPA

Government’s recent move to head to the courts to challenge the no-confidence resolution can be seen as an attempt to remain in power, says the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), which is part of the governing coalition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU).

The WPA in a statement on Wednesday informed that the body has been following the developments since the passage of the no confidence motion on December 21, 2018.

The WPA said it believes the matter should quickly be resolved in the court while adding, “WPA is cognizant of the political consequences of the challenge by the Government side that could be read as an attempt to remain in power beyond the provision of Article 106 (7)”.

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.”

According to the political party, it is “another test of the political maturity of our leaderships—one that should not end in any major political fallout”.

The body said it agrees with other stakeholders who have stated that the passage of motion puts Guyana in unchartered territory since this is the first time there has been such an outcome of a no confidence motion.

It added that it is not surprised by the political division that has since occurred.

The WPA acknowledged that it was briefed by the Government’s cabinet sub-committee on its actions following the passage of the no confidence motion but they not have had “any further meeting but have observed that Action has been filed.”

The  party said, “President Granger’s statement that” all Constitutional requirements will be met and his assurance to “the Guyanese people that this is not a crisis which could dissolve into any type of confrontation” is very important, particularly in this “fluid period of great uncertainty.”

Government, through Attorney General (AG) Basil Williams on Monday, filed a case in the High Court for the court to put on hold the enforcement of the no-confidence resolution.

At the same time, Williams also applied for a conservatory order to allow for the Government to continue in office while the matter is being heard.

On the other hand, however, Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo has made an application in the High Court to become a party to the proceedings brought by private citizen Compton Reid.

Reid is challenging the validity of the vote of former Member of Parliament (MP) Charrandas Persaud, stating that he had falsely declared that he was a Guyanese citizen.

In the fixed-date application filed by Williams, the AG seeks relief under the Constitution by way of petitioning the court to grant several orders with House Speaker Dr Barton Scotland and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo as the named respondents.

Williams wants the court to rule on whether the Speaker’s decision on the December 21, 2018 motion was indeed carried by a majority of all elected members and whether or not the 33 to 32 breakdown means it was validly passed.

Meanwhile, Charted Accountant and attorney-at-law Christopher Ram has filed legal proceedings in the High Court to validate the recently passed no confidence motion and have Government comply with constitutional provisions to demit office and call elections no later than March of this year.

His grounds of appeal seeking relief under the constitution state that government was defeated with 33 votes against 32; 18 days have passed and government has given no indication to resign and that cabinet’s failure to resign could lead to uncertainty and constitutional crisis.

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