Granger says party yet to discuss no-confidence vote proposal

Returned PNCR leader David Granger said the party is yet to discuss whether it will support the no-confidence motion the Alliance For Change (AFC) has vowed to bring against the government because it is yet to receive a draft of the document.

AFC leader Khemraj Ramjattan said he had completed a draft of the motion which he estimated to be about 20-50 words.

He had told Stabroek News that he wanted to circulate the document to party members before it is made available to the public. Calls to Ramjattan and AFC Executive Moses Nagamootoo for an update on when members of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), including the PNCR, will receive drafts of the motion were unsuccessful.

During a press conference on Sunday night, Granger, fresh off being returned as leader of the PNCR, told reporters that the party was yet to get hold of the motion.

Granger also reminded reporters that the APNU has stated that there are four possible mechanisms through which the problem of government’s abuse of its powers, the latest case being Finance Minister Ashni Singh’s spending of $4.55 billion for various agencies and projects after the monies were not approved by the National Assembly, can be addressed.

These mechanisms are: getting Singh referred to the Privileges Committee of the National Assembly; reporting his spending, which may amount to a transgression of the Fiscal Management and Accountability (FMA) Act, to the police; taking the matter to the High Court; and moving a no-confidence motion against the existing Executive government.

As recent as last week the Speaker of the National Assembly Raphael Trotman ruled that Singh’s actions warranted looking into by the Privileges Committee. Also, Ramjattan, in a complaint and brief, has informed the Guyana Police Force of Singh’s alleged crime and suggested that the minister be read his rights. The police are yet to take action on this.

Granger said various mechanisms had been activated and said the party was looking to see how the situations play out. He nevertheless iterated that the party is open to considering the motion, but said it cannot do so until receives the draft document. The possibility of a no-confidence motion was raised late last month. Nagamootoo had pointed to Singh’s latest “abuse” of the Consolidated Fund by spending amounts not approved by the National Assembly.

The 2014 budget as proposed was $220 billion but this amount was reduced by $37.4 billion by the time the Appropriations Bill was drafted and passed.

Despite claims that the reduction effected by the opposition side of the National Assembly was preventing government from paying salaries, and that persons might have to be sent home, Singh eventually laid Financial Paper 1 of 2014 in the house which revealed that he had restored the amount, depending on the guidance of Article 218 (3) (b) of the constitution.

Critics have argued though, that Singh, and his defenders have perverted the meaning of the above-mentioned Article to justify illegal spending.

In addition, it is argued that the spending violates Sections 48 and 85 of the FMA Act. Further, it is said that his actions contravene Article 17 of the constitution.

Article 106 (6) of the constitution requires that Cabinet resign if a no-confidence motion is passed against it and that new general elections be held. Government, including the president had said, it does not fear a no-confidence vote, although on Saturday President Donald Ramotar told reporters that it might not be wise, financially, to hold such elections before the next stipulated date.

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