With the proverbial smoke now cleared from Friday’s historic Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) forwarded no-confidence motion that was passed in the National Assembly against the incumbent A Partnership for National Unity/ Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) government, observers are looking towards the next step, which in this case is General Elections.
One such observer, was British High Commissioner to Guyana Greg Quinn who in a statement on the motion said that “The democratic process as laid out in the Constitution has been followed. It is important that everyone now respects the results. Members of Parliament must be allowed to undertake their constitutionally mandated roles in the absence of fear or favour.”
Moreover, the British Envoy in urging calm, also said that they are looking forward “to a free and fair election and a campaign fought on the issues that confront Guyana and it’s future development.”
On Friday, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo said Government will uphold the law.
In accordance with the Constitution of Guyana, the Coalition Administration will have to resign and call national elections within the next three months.
Article 106 (6) and (7) of the Constitution states, respectively: “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.” And “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.”
During the voting of the motion against the APNU/AFC, Government Member of Parliament Charrandas Persaud voted in favour with the PPP, thus passing the motion.
Outside the chambers, Persaud defended his vote against the Government. According to the MP, he voted that way because of the AFC’s subordinate role to the majority APNU.
Persaud cited examples, like Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence’s recent controversial statement about hiring party faithfuls, and pointed out that the AFC leadership did not condemn, but rather condoned, the statement.
“I am an AFC member, and I’m extremely disappointed in the AFC team. My reason for voting in favour of the motion is that I have no confidence in what the AFC team will do,” Persaud said, when questioned by the media.
“We are sitting in Parliament as yes men to APNU, and we are AFC. We have not blended with the APNU, the other parties have; we’re not. Why are we doing everything they want (us) to do? We are not opposing, we are not saying no to anything. That is where the problem is. I can’t stand that. This is a conscience vote,” he explained.
Persaud denied being affiliated in any way to the PPP. Asked if he would switch sides to the PPP, Persaud indicated that he in fact intends to leave the life of politics behind.
Asked point blank if he was coerced to vote the way he did, he made it clear he was not.
The MP also acknowledged that this act may have put his life in jeopardy. In fact, Persaud mentioned specific threats to his life that he received only minutes after the vote.
While he lauded Public Security Minister and fellow AFC member Khemraj Ramjattan for offering him Police protection when leaving the premises, Persaud’s demeanour was of a man without fear.
“My conscience is now clear. My life may go, but I’ll die a happy person, and with a clear conscience… This is the one time I had a say, and I said it according to my conscience. Those who are APNU and those who are AFC, I have nothing against you,” he declared.
“The AFC team has disappointed me. And I did not work so hard to put them in power so they could run around and enjoy the good life. You destroyed the lives of sugar workers in a village I live in. I can’t live with that. If I die now because people aren’t happy with what I’ve done, I’ll die a happy person,” he reiterated.