Opposition hones no-confidence vote plan

-several actions on table against Finance Minister

After extensive discussions yesterday, APNU and the AFC have agreed that a decision on pursuing a no-confidence vote against the Donald Ramotar administration will await how the government proceeds with the contentious financial paper seeking approval for $4.55B in expenditure.

AFC leader Khemraj Ramjattan warned that should the government refuse to bring the financial paper to the National Assembly when Parlia-ment meets next week, it is essentially forcing the hand of the opposition.

He said that during discussions yesterday, the parties were “giving consideration to the modalities of and deciding on an opportune occasion and the time for the introduction for a motion of no-confidence under Article of 106 of the Constitution.”

Article 106 (6) states, “The Cabinet including the President shall resign if the Government is defeated by the vote of the majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly on a vote of confidence.”

Ramjattan explained that the decision by the government against proceeding with consideration of the Financial Paper when the National Assembly meets tomorrow was a result of the Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh being out of the country. He said that the opposition had to wait and see if the government would refuse to bring back the financial paper for discussion and that time will be given for this to occur.

Ramjattan stated that during the discussions with APNU, which were held at the Office of the Leader of the Opposition, the two parties comprehensively decided that prior to a no-confidence motion being drafted the “AFC and APNU had agreed on censure of the minister of finance by placing him before the Committee of Privileges.”

A decision is yet to be made as Singh was earlier this year referred to the Privileges Committee for his failure to comply with a parliamentary resolution that required him to provide reports on extra-budgetary agencies and to pay all monies being held by such agencies into the Consolidated Fund.

He said that not only will Singh be presented to the Committee of Privileges but also a brief is being formulated with the view of having the police take action by way of prosecution against the minister.

Ramjattan told Stabroek News that there were in total four decisions that were made and that simultaneous with the various actions being taken against the minister, the collective opposition would also be approaching the court to pronounce on any future unauthorised expenditure.

When asked by Stabroek News whether the court has proven successful in pronouncing on unauthorised spending, he said that he was confident in the appeals process once a decision is made at the High Court level. Ramjattan stated that the opposition would be committed to appeal any ruling taking it all the way to the Caribbean Court of Justice, if necessary.

The opposition, however, is still awaiting a date to be finalised in the appeal filed to challenge the ruling by acting Chief Justice Ian Chang that the 2012 budget cuts were unlawful. As a result of the appeal, there has been no challenge to the 2013 or 2014 budgets decisions in the courts.

 Public criticism

Ramjattan stated that he was aware of the public criticisms on the lack of commitment to the no-confidence motion. “There are plenty of Guyanese people and we want them all to give us their responses… we want public consideration on the matter,” he explained.

He said that there were mitigating factors that needed to be considered and that without public support a no-confidence vote was not feasible. He noted that carrying a no-confidence vote, the opposition will have need to organise a campaign strategy which will include millions in fundraising and ensuring that campaign staff is prepared.

He, however, added that given all the various factors, the AFC is fully prepared to move ahead and draft a no-confidence given the decision by the Finance Minister to present by way of the financial paper, a statement of excess to be approved by the National Assembly permitting the unapproved spending from the Consolidated Fund of funds cuts from the budget.

“This thing is too elementary to abuse in this fashion. You must have [approval] before you spend money or else you damage the Parliament beyond redemption,” he said, adding that control of the public purse is granted to the collective decision of the National Assembly. He said that there needed to be accountability towards the public by elected officials.

The AFC’s Moses Nagamootoo, who first brought the issue of a no-confidence motion to the table, had originally tied the issue to various factors, including the lack of transparency and a penchant for secrecy in relation to all the major industries in Guyana.

More in Local News

default placeholder

Driver in accident with St Lucian cubs jailed for 10 months

The police today said that the driver of the motor vehicle who was involved in an accident with two St Lucian cub scouts has been jailed for 10 months.

default placeholder

Draft bill sees state assets recovery via civil proceedings

The draft State Assets Recovery Bill 2016 envisages non-conviction based, civil recoveries of property over $10m with a 12-year limitation period and wide powers will be available to the agency to be set up under the law to gather information.

Raphael Trotman

Gov’t will not be ‘lectured to in the press’ on forest concessions, Trotman says

Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Raphael Trotman yesterday said that the government will not be “lectured” to in the press on the issue of forestry concessions, while announcing that the arrival of officials from a company in China that may take over the operations of the controversial Baishanlin is being awaited.

Black Bush murder victims laid to rest: Rice farmer, Pawan Chandradeo, 37; his fifteen-year-old son, Jaikarran Chandradeo, both of 163 Mibicuri North, Black Bush Polder and his brother-in-law Naresh Rooplall, 33, of Number 75 Village, Corentyne were yesterday laid to rest following an emotional funeral. They were buried at the Babu John Cemetery, Port Mourant. The trio were found dead on Friday, less than a day after they had left to go on a fishing trip in Black Bush Polder. Intense investigations are underway into the murders. Photo shows the caskets of the three victims and part of the crowd that gathered.

Black Bush triple murder suspects brought to city

Seven men, including the main suspect who was arrested in connection with the Black Bush Polder, Corentyne triple murder were transported to Georgetown on Tuesday evening and are currently being questioned by ranks from the Criminal Investigation Department’s (CID), Major Crimes Unit.

Anthony Jhagroo

Bulletin issued for suspect in murder of mechanic

The police yesterday issued a  bulletin for Anthony Jhagroo, who is wanted for questioning in relation to two offences: escaping from lawful custody and the murder of mechanic, Yugeshwar Shiwcharan.

default placeholder

Five cops under close arrest over stolen gold

Five police officers attached to the Brickdam Police Station are currently under close arrest after they allegedly stole a quantity of raw gold from some miners last Friday.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: