President Donald Ramotar yesterday dared the opposition to move a no-confidence vote against his government.
“We do not take threats. If the opposition wants to pass a no-confidence bill, let them pass it and we will be ready to deal with the consequences of that,” Ramotar said while delivering remarks at the Private Sector Commission’s Annual General Meeting yesterday at the Pegasus Hotel in Georgetown.
Ramotar was responding to a disclosure by AFC Vice-Chairman Moses Nagamootoo in yesterday’s Stabroek News that his party is seriously contemplating a no-confidence motion against Ramotar’s government.
Nagamootoo had cited what he said was the government’s lack of regard for accountability, among other issues. He pointed to the recent revelation that the government had already spent $4.6 billion of the $37.4 billion which had been cut by the joint opposition from the national budget. The government has now tabled a financial paper in Parliament to cover the expenditure but there is no guarantee that the opposition will support it.
Nagamootoo said that this was just the sort of behaviour that shows the government lacks accountability. He said that a no-confidence motion “would have to be supported by the entire opposition. It is not a unilateral decision for the AFC, but it is something that is now coming to the table in light of the serious financial breach.”
A visibly perturbed Ramotar, when asked if he was in battle mode, said, “Whatever man, whatever.”
Further probed if he was going to call for general elections, he replied, “When I say I am going to do it, I am going to do it,”
A no-confidence vote passed by the one-seat opposition majority would end Ramotar’s administration and pave the way for new elections.
Article 106(6) of the constitution states: “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.” New elections would then have to be held in three months.
Nagamootoo, who was a longstanding member of the PPP/C before switching to the AFC in 2011, told Stabroek News that “unauthorised spending not approved by Parliament shows just what they are capable of and what their intentions are.” Nagamootoo said that a no-confidence motion could be used to end the constant gridlock on a variety of issues, including the anti-laundering legislation.
A former PPP/C Minister of Information, Nagamootoo told Stabroek News that the PPP/C was in a minority government but the behaviour of government ministers were as if the PPP/C headed a majority government.
Stabroek News asked Nagamootoo if the AFC was doing all that it could to instigate change as the swing party in the National Assembly. He said that more could be done and that the discussions coming out of the no-confidence talks will most likely tackle the way forward.