Following Friday evening’s passage of the No-confidence Motion filed by the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Opposition against the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Coalition, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo said Government will uphold the law.
This means, 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 Opposition-filed motion against the APNU/AFC, Government Member of Parliament Charrandass Persaud voted in favour with the PPP, thus passing the motion.
Persaud is a member of the AFC party.
At an emergence press conference after the adjournment of Friday’s sitting of the National Assembly, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo posited that while the outcome was unpredictable, it must be accepted.
“Guyanese must understand that the democratic process is sometimes unpredictable. You may have results that are not planned for… but the outcome has to be accepted… It may be a surprise to some, it may be a shock to others, it may be welcomed by some and others may rejoice over the results but that is how democracy works and we are fully committed to the rule of law,” he posited.
Nevertheless, he noted that Government will remain in office until such time that a date for elections is set. In the meantime, he posited, the coalition will have to deliberate on its options going forward.
“This is a matter that will engage the attention of the Government and our legal advisors as to what are the options available and what is the timeline for those options,” the Prime Minister, surrounded by Government Ministers and MPs in the Committee Room of the Parliament Chambers, told reporters.
Nagamootoo went on to recognise that the process within the House was “open and transparent”, adding that it was a robust debate involving speakers on both sides – the end of which, the parliamentary democracy triumphed.
Support still there
Nevertheless, the Government took the time to alert the nation that they will be going back to the polls and the coalition will be returning to the “grounds”. In fact, the Prime Minister said they are confident the support that they got in 2015 is still there.
“The 2015 support base has not reneged from the party, has not moved away. We will know that in the national elections but we have every reason to believe that the support we enjoyed in 2015 and even greater support [will be there]… So we have to go down into the elections. That is how politicians would expect to behave in situations such as these that we retain our confidence, our optimism. We have suffered a setback here, it is not an ordinary setback. This is a serious political setback but then we move on and we mobilise and strengthen our base in preparation for new polls,” he stated.
Security for Charrandas Persaud
In the meanwhile, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan has assured that “all security arrangements” were put in place to escort Persaud wherever he wanted to go.
“I also understand that he’s leaving the country early in the morning and that arrangement is apparently being taken care of and so that also will be taken care of. I spoke to the Commissioner of Police on the matter and he has indicated to me every security arrangement will be made. We understand the immediacy and vulnerability of Charrandass and that certainly will be taken care of,” Ramjattan, Chairman of the AFC, said.
On this note, the Government called on citizens to maintain the peace and good order during this time.
“We want nothing to happen that would affect our stability and peace and we want nothing to happen that would affect the business community in this particularly bright business and lots of activities in the streets.”