AFC Vice-Chairman Moses Nagamootoo on Monday stated that the party is seriously contemplating a no-confidence motion against the Ramotar government.
Nagamootoo 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 $4.5 billion of the $37.4 billion which had been cut by the joint opposition from the $220 billion 2014 budget. The government has now tabled a financial paper in Parliament to cover this amount 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 (Alliance For Change), but it is something that is now coming to the table in light of the serious financial breach.”
A no-confidence vote passed by the one-seat opposition majority would bring down the government. It is unclear what the main opposition APNU’s views would be on a no-confidence motion at this stage.
Article 106(6) of the constitution states that “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 “unauthorized 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.
“We are prepared to engage the minority government on all issues and we are prepared to make reasonable compromises, that would be compromises to take the process forward,” Nagamootoo stated. He highlighted that the AFC’s stance on the passing of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism has always hinged on the establishment of the Public Procurement Commission (PPC) and the party had made provision to compromise such as amending sections of the legislation, however the government has remained stubborn.
Nagamootoo said that “for the PPC we put a roadmap on how it could be actualized which was a compromise, but this government has not seen it fit to do the same”. He said that there has been an abandonment of the tripartite engagements among the parties “which is a pity and I also believe that was a deliberate move on the government’s part. It is in keeping with the style of the Ramotar regime.”
He said that “we want engagement and that these discussions need to be between the leaders and be done through parliamentary engagement”. Nagamootoo stated that prior to last Thursday’s meeting of the National Assembly he was rhetorically asking himself how much more the country can take in relation to the government’s no-compromise stance. Nagamootoo had first posted his views on Facebook. He said that he engaged subscribers on Facebook as a politician to receive feedback and to understand what some of the people’s frustrations were.
Nagamootoo pointed out that, on the government’s part, there has been a lack of transparency and a penchant for secrecy in relation to all the major industries in Guyana, homing in on the falling gold prices. He told Stabroek News that the industry’s concerns were only exposed through media attention. He also stated that major stakeholders such as the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union have repeatedly cited their concerns over the troubled sugar sector but their pleas have fallen on deaf ears. Nagamootoo told Stabroek News that “incompetence” at the helm was rampant and that President Donald Ramotar was unable to lead effectively.
A former PPP/C Minister of Information, Nagamootoo told Stabroek News that the PPP/C were 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. (Pushpa Balgobin)