In light of alleged intelligence received by the Parliamentary Opposition that the APNU/AFC Government might attempt to disrupt Friday’s sitting of the National Assembly which is scheduled for the debate of the no-confidence motion against the incumbent, Opposition Chief Whip Gail Texeira on Wednesday called on the Police Commissioner Leslie James to put steps in place to ensure the security of not only Members of Parliament (MPs) but the citizenry as well.
“We… call on you to take the necessary interventions to ensure that the rule of law prevails and not only the sitting of the National Assembly on December 21, 2018 will be allowed to proceed peacefully but also the safety of citizens beyond the precincts of the Parliament Buildings and property, life and limb will be protected from any efforts to create violence and mayhem,” her letter said.
Texeira outlined that this is a “matter of serious proportions relating to public safety and the security of the National Assembly, the Parliament Buildings and all Guyanese citizens.”
“We have received information that there will be an attempt to prevent the Members of the Parliamentary Opposition from entering the compound of the Parliament Buildings on December 21st, 2018 for the sitting of the National Assembly, the day that the Government has identified for the debate on the Parliamentary Opposition’s motion of No Confidence. Our information points to some very ominous plans to physically disrupt the sitting by either invading the Chambers, and, or, creating disruption within the Chambers. The intention is to interrupt the debate and the vote on the No Confidence Motion” the Opposition Chief Whip in her letter explained.
Moreover, the alleged plans are also said to be aimed that preventing Opposition MPs from exiting the compound of the Parliament Building at the conclusion of the sitting as well as threatening the safety of citizens going about their business beyond the precincts of the Parliament Buildings.
Texeira, in her missive noted that her Party remains “confident that the Guyana Police Force will uphold the law and manage any threats to the public safety of the Members of the National Assembly, the Parliament Buildings and the citizens of our country.”
On Monday, Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo called on the authorities and the National Assembly to implement measures that will protect MPs and ensure that Friday’s no-confidence vote can go forward unhindered.
Jagdeo had expressed fears that there may be attempts to disrupt the vote by persons in the gallery.
According to Jagdeo, it only takes one crossover vote or two abstentions from the Government side for them to win.
He said that because of this precarious margin and certain information his party has received, they were apprehensive.
“We are aware that they plan to install people in the galleries and should someone (from Government) vote in favour of the no-confidence motion, from the galleries
they will … disrupt the vote. We’ve heard that should [that] fail, some of their MPs will disrupt the vote.”
Jagdeo theorized that they may be hoping that should the vote be disrupted, the vote will be invalidated. He made it clear that his party would notify Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland.
“We will bring this to the attention of the Speaker. We will also insist, like what happens in many parts of the world, once someone votes in favour of the no-confidence motion, the Government falls. If you have 32 votes on our side, and one of their Members of Parliament vote in favour, the mathematics changes and it’s 33 in favour and 32 remaining votes.
“When the Clerk of the National Assembly calls the names of the Members of Parliament and should one of their members vote (in favour), no matter what happens afterwards, the vote is passed … because if you allow disruptions, you can never have (a non-contentious vote). So, if the Speaker allows (the vote to be invalidated), we will deem that an act of collusion.”
Jagdeo expressed hope that the diplomatic community would bear witness to the proceedings, whichever way the vote turned out.
Noting that the proceedings were being recorded, he warned that attempts to disrupt the vote would be publicised around the world. Jagdeo also spoke of threats and related that they would write to the Commissioner of Police.