No Confidence motion: Ramjattan is on a fishing expedition – AG

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Attorney General, Anil Nandlall.
Attorney General, Anil Nandlall.

[www.inewsguyana.com] – Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General, Anil Nandlall has again denounced the Alliance for Change (AFC) for threatening to bring a no-confidence motion against the Government because Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh has used money from the Consolidated Fund to restore the 2014 budget cuts.

“The basis or the reason offered by the Alliance for Change for threatening a no-confidence motion is one that is frivolous, vexatious, specious and without merit,” the Legal Affairs Minister said.

Speaking on a programme on the National Communications Network yesterday, Minister Nandlall rejected the basis of the no-confidence motion, on the ground that the Finance Minister did not act on his own volition, but instead, in pursuance of legal advice and a decision of Cabinet, and of the Government of Guyana to restore the sums that were cut from the budget.

“…it is not Dr. Singh who is responsible. It is a collective responsibility; it is a government action that Dr. Singh simply executed. Dr. Singh acted in accordance with expressed provision of the constitution which were interpreted by the constitutional courts of this country (by the Chief Justice of this country) and Dr. Singh was essentially advised to act accordingly to the Chief Justice’s interpretation of article 218 of the constitution,” Minister Nandlall said.

Minister Nandlall noted that a person cannot in law act in conformity with the constitution, and then at the same time, for that very action, contravene any principle of criminal law.

Outraged

“It is a legal impossibility and Mr Ramjattan as a lawyer must know that so he is on a fishing expedition. He feels frustrated, that his actions are being defeated…so he is going down that road and we are prepared to deal with it,” Minister Nandlall said.

AFC Leader, Khemraj Ramjattan
AFC Leader, Khemraj Ramjattan

Minister Singh has twice before, acting in accordance with Article 218 of the Constitution, restored the cuts to the Budget in 2012 and 2013, and subsequently laid in the National Assembly, financial papers on the statement of excess. The Minister in those two years received the support of the AFC and the A Partnership For National Unity (APNU) in passing these financial papers.

Minister Nandlall said he cannot comprehend the ‘significant outrage’ that is now being expressed by the opposition with regards the Finance Minister following similar action on the issue of the restoration of the 2014 budget cut sums.

“They lent their support to this identical thing in 2012 and 2013. I do not know whether they are now telling the country that they were asleep in 2012 and 2013 because they did this exact thing,” Minister Nandlall pointed out.

Public spectacle

The AG also slammed the AFC for making ‘a public spectacle’ of their intention to move the no-confidence motion. He noted that whilst the party had a constitutional right to move the motion, the constitution did not however require the party to make a spectacle of their intention to do so.

“There is no requirement to issue a threat publicly, there is no requirement for them to write to the government, they simply have to draft a motion and lay it in the National Assembly so this whole public spectacle that is being created by Mr. Ramjattan about his threat to lay this no-confidence motion is one that is uncalled for, it is completely unnecessary.”

Unruffled

He said that the government is not afraid of the AFC’s no-confidence motion. The no-confidence motion, if tabled by the AFC cannot be passed without the support of the APNU.

“We in the People’s Progressive Party is a party that is 60 years old, we have gone to the polls more than any other political party in this country, perhaps more that most others in the Caribbean. The record will show we have never lost an election… so we are not afraid of the electorate, we work with the people of this country everyday to improve their lives and livelihoods and that is our record… so we are not ruffled.”

Ramjattan will have to explain

He said if Ramjattan wants to go ahead with his threat, as the President explained in his response to him (Ramjattan), it will give him an opportunity to explain to Berbicians why he partnered with APNU to attempt to close down the sugar industry, jeopardising hundreds of thousands of people’s lives.

“He will have to explain why he opposed the amendments to the Anti Money Laundering bill, and the sanctions which he has exposed us to, and exposed the Guyanese people to economic hardship. He will have to explain why he cut the budget from all the important developmental projects including hydro power, and denying the people of this country a cheap alternative source of energy. He will have to explain to the people of this country why he wants to deny them proper health care by opposing the specialty hospital.”

[Extracted and modified from GINA]

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