The AFC has drafted its no-confidence motion against the government and the party’s leader Khemraj Ramjattan yesterday said that the document will be distributed to the relevant parties to be discussed and reviewed.
Ramjattan told Stabroek News yesterday that the motion is no more than 20 words. “We are finished (with) the draft, we are going to circulate it around to (Opposition Leader David) Granger and so on,” he said. After consultations with the opposition parties, the motion will be made public and there may be additional input, Ramjattan said. He noted that the no-confidence motion as it stands, is simple and direct.
According to the AFC leader, he consulted and looked into various no-confidence motions and decided that the simplest was the most direct. He said that the AFC’s management committee meets on Mondays and the party will formally discuss it at the meeting. “Management committee, we generally meet on Mondays and the APNU, they are busy right now with their Congress, but we will meet first anyway then discuss with the other parties,” Ramjattan stated adding that the AFC wants to proceed in a consensual manner.
He stated firmly that the no-confidence motion is no longer something that the party is talking about, but a reality. “We are going to bring it, there is no doubt we want to table it. This is our positon, but of course it has to reach consensus with the other political parties,” Ramjattan asserted.
Last week Thursday, the AFC leader had dispatched a letter to President Donald Ramotar stating the party’s intention to move forward with a no-confidence motion. In the letter, which was copied to Granger, Ramjattan said “I write to you out of deep concern over the unauthorized and unconstitutional withdrawals made from our nation’s Consolidated Fund by the Minister of Finance. It is my Party’s belief that such withdrawals as reported in Financial Paper #1 of 2014 are in clear contravention of Article 217 of the Constitution of the Republic of Guyana and Section 16 of the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act.” The unauthorized expenditure covered over $4.5 billion. Ramjattan had emphasized that the will of the Guyanese people is reflected in the composition of the National Assembly, and one of the key roles played by that body is the authorization of all public spending.
The letter said that the AFC could not condone the breach of the Constitution. “Our Party sees no other alternative than to proceed with this constitutional mechanism for removal of an unpopular Government that has ceased to enjoy the confidence of the National Assembly and who by its actions has demonstrated an unlawful and contemptuous disregard for the Supreme Law of the Country,” Ramjattan had written.
A no-confidence motion, if passed, would trigger general elections. APNU’s parliamentary votes are needed to pass such a motion but the coalition has yet to make a decision on the matter. Analysts have said that it is in a tight spot over whether or not to support the AFC-led move.
Granger had made reference to the 10th Parliament’s five year term at a press briefing commemorating APNU’s third anniversary. “I believe that the remaining two years of the life of the 10th Parliament you will see much greater autonomy of the National Assembly,” he had said.
Granger’s choice of words raised the question of whether it was deliberately done in the face of the prospect of APNU having at some time to decide on a motion of no-confidence against the government, or whether it was just a slip of the tongue. Observers say that given his awareness of the prospect of a no-confidence vote, it would have been tactically wiser for Granger to leave open the prospect of a vote rather than hinting that the government would run its full course.