‘No-confidence motion cannot be ignored or tossed aside in favour of Govt business’ – former AG

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Opposition Member of Parliament Anil Nandlall, has said that Vice President Carl Greenidge is afraid to have the no-confidence motion, brought by the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) against the Coalition Government, debated before Monday’s Budget presentation.

“It cannot be ignored or tossed aside in favour of other Government business in the National Assembly. Certainly, it is required to be debated before a national budget is presented. The rationale is a pragmatic one: that if the No-Confidence Motion is dealt with after the budget, then the Government that presented the budget may not be in office to implement that budget,” the former Attorney General opined.

“It is quite ironic that Mr Greenidge is emphatically confident that the No-Confidence Motion will fail but at the same time appears mortally afraid to have it debated early and instead is advocating for its delay. One would expect that with such exuding confidence, Mr Greenidge would be calling for an early debate of the Motion,” Nandlall said.

According to him, a fundamental pillar of the West Minster Model Constitution is that the Government of the day must enjoy the confidence of the majority of the elected members in the nation’s Parliament. He said that it is for this singular reason that the Cabinet is collectively responsible to the Parliament.

“Once the confidence of the Government is being challenged in the Parliament by a confidence motion, that motion is required to be accorded the highest priority in the Parliament’s business,” Nandlall outlined.

He also pointed to Article 106 (6) of Guyana’s Constitution which “expressly provides that where a no-confidence motion succeeds against a Government, that Government must call elections within 90 days.” Nandlall is of the view that the “only way” to avoid a no-confidence motion is to prorogue the Parliament as the PPP/C Government had done in 2014.

In a brief engagement with the media on Wednesday, Greenidge said that the motion will not be debated before the budget at the next sitting of the National Assembly and that Government’s business takes priority. “It has no merit whatsoever and it has no chance of doing anything,” he said.

“The confidence motion put by Mr Jagdeo is really with the intention just to give him the opportunity to berate the Government, it has nothing to do with the possibility of winning, he can’t win it. And the story about a possible deflection is nonsense, this is really just a device at a time when the Government has presented a budget, the Opposition thinks that they have done well in Local Government Elections to try and change the story. It has nothing to do with realistic opportunities and that is all” Greenidge berated.

There had been some degree of assumption that one or two members from Government could deflect whenever the matter comes up and voting is required but Government has brushed aside such claims.

Clerk Isaacs released a letter on Wednesday evening outlining that Government has the power to determine when the No-Confidence Motion will be heard rather than the Speaker of the National Assembly.

It was after the 2018 Local Government Elections (LGE) results which saw the PPP/C winning the majority of the Local Authority Areas that Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo filed the confidence motion. It was contended that the elections served as a referendum on the performance of the current Administration, especially at the Central Government level.

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