Main opposition APNU will be reviewing the AFC’s proposed no-confidence motion today during its weekly shadow cabinet meeting and leader David Granger says the coalition has a positive reaction to it.
After receiving correspondence on Friday from AFC’s General Secretary David Patterson, Granger told Stabroek News yesterday that the motion was simply “be it resolved this National Assembly has no confidence in the government.”
He said, “It is a very brief letter. Simply stated, I have asked them to explain further.”
Granger said that while the motion in its current form was “very skeletal,” he was sure when it was presented to the National Assembly it would be with “more flesh on the bones.” He said that an accompanying letter stated that the action was prompted by the unauthorised spending of the $4.5 billion out of the $37.4 billion that was disapproved by the opposition from the original $220 billion national budget proposed by government.
He said that when the motion is taken to the National Assembly, the unauthorised spending will be one of many instances that will comprise the reasoning behind the action being taken by the AFC.
Granger said that the usual week that precedes a sitting of the National Assembly has not happened and as a result Parliament is most likely not going to convene prior to the scheduled recess, which is slated to commence no later than August 10.
He said that “there is nothing to prevent us from meeting, deliberating during the recess… we may come out the recess ready to go.”
He said APNU was expecting the no-confidence motion to be circulated since the two opposition parties met on July 8. “We have lost confidence, we have moved towards disciplining the Minister of Finance (Dr Ashni Singh) who we believe has behaved in an unconstitutional manner,” Granger stated.
Stabroek News asked Granger about his remarks during a press briefing commemorating APNU’s third anniversary, where he made reference to the 10th Parliament fulfilling its five-year term. The leader of the opposition noted that his words were never an endorsement of the current dispensation to continue onward until 2016.
He said that at that point when he made those remarks, “there was no prospects that the government would be put out,” and he added that APNU had not arrived at a firm decision in terms of the AFC’s proposal, which was yet to be drafted.
Granger told the Stabroek News that APNU will be taking the no-confidence discussions very seriously. This newspaper asked whether he was concerned that the events which marred the PNCR Congress could translate into a loss of support for the APNU coalition in the event new elections are called.
He held firm that he did not foresee extensive and lingering damage to the PNCR’s image, which could then percolate and hamper APNU’s voter support. Observers have noted that with the parliamentary recess most likely to commence without either the no-confidence motion or the controversial Financial Paper No 1 of 2014 being deliberated on, APNU could have breathing room to distance itself from the bad public relations emanating from the 18th Biennial PNCR Congress.
Granger said that while he did not feel that the PNCR’s image was tarnished, the various analysts who have commented on the Congress have done so very negatively, which would set a tone that it was not successful. During the PNCR Congress, there were accusations of disenfranchisement, a gunshot was fired, dissenting party members protested and prominent, longstanding members walked out.
As the main party comprising the coalition, critics have stated that APNU will need to pay keen attention to the PNCR’s image should a no-confidence motion be tabled.