“You don’t lose the Opposition, you lose the Government.”
These are the words of Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo as he spoke on the no-confidence motion which is expected to be debated in the National Assembly on December 21, 2018.
Outlining his perception of the chances of a Government Minister from the A Partnership for National Unity/ Alliance For Change (APNU/ AFC) voting in tandem with the Opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) being 50/50, Jagdeo also said that there are Members of Parliament (MP’s) who are displeased with how the incumbent Administration is governing and that displeasure might be reflected on the day of the vote.
APNU/AFC holds sway in the National Assembly because they control the majority by 1 vote with 33 members, while the Opposition has 32 members. Therefore, for the no-confidence motion to succeed, the Opposition would need a vote from the other side of the House, or Government MPs would have to abstain from voting.
According to Jagdeo, even though the no-confidence motion is usually a rudimentary procedure in other countries, in Guyana he said that it becomes complicated because the process under the APNU/AFC has become a political one.
The Opposition Leader said that based on information that he has already received, the APNU/AFC plans to install persons within the gallery of Parliament and should one of their members vote in support of the motion, there would be disruptions by the installed persons or by the governing MPs themselves to have the vote staved.
He also spoke of Government using paid protesters to disrupt the proceedings, pointing to an effort to ensure that all of the Opposition MPs are not present for the debate and subsequent vote.
Jagdeo indicated that he is bringing all of these issues to the attention of the Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Barton Scotland so “that he cannot claim that he is not aware.”
Moreover, the Opposition Leader said that if the Speaker allows the National Assembly to be disrupted and it leads to the vote being staved or the Assembly being broken up, then it would suggest collusion on his part.
He made it clear from international precedents that if one person from the other side of the House votes in favour of the motion then motion would be passed.
“We intend to ask the diplomatic corps to also observe the vote. Obviously they will be looking at the video feed and some might be physically present” Jagdeo said during a press briefing on Monday.
Moreover, he noted that his Party intends to write the Commissioner of Police to ensure that law and order and protection for MP’s are secured.
The Opposition Leader reiterated his earlier position that their impetus for advancing the no-confidence motion is premised on the APNU/AFC’s track record for the time that they spent in office.
Noting that 5 months from now would make 5 years under the current Government, Jagdeo said that they have broken every promise they made in their manifesto to the electorate.
“They have managed the affairs of this country in a manner that harms large amounts of people. They have lost thousands of jobs. We are heavily dependent on borrowing large sums of money…They have become the most corrupt government in our entire history, we have evidence to prove that” said Jagdeo.
He had also said that Guyanese made it clear at the recently held Local Government Elections (LGE), where the PPP/C came out victorious with a whopping 45,000 votes more than the Government, that electorates are unhappy with the direction and policies of this Government.
Meanwhile, the Opposition Leader, while outlining that his Party would have preferred an earlier date for the debate of the motion, noted that the actions of Government to shy away from the conventional norm that gives the motion prominence, resulting in it being placed after the presentation of the 2019 Budget, means that it falls right into the festivities of Christmas.
He noted that this festive season is usually a time when “we should be coming together as Guyanese.”
As such, he proposed that Government bring the motion on January 3, 2019 in a effort not to cause any disruptions for the festive season.