The PPP/C’s no-confidence motion against the government will be debated next Friday, opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira confirmed today.
Speaking to Stabroek News at Parliament Buildings she said the “rumours” of the planned debate were only confirmed when government Chief Whip Amna Ally was approached.
“We have been hearing …so we asked Amna …and she said yes but no one told us first, we just heard about it,” she said adding that it concerns her that no one on the opposition side was informed that a date had been fixed.
She stressed that they should have been informed “out of courtesy” adding that “It’s our motion so that again is how they are operating. They should have come and told us.”
Teixeira said that she also finds issue with the date set given that it is the last day of the work week.
She explained that when she spoke to Ally, she inquired why the date wasn’t fixed for the Thursday in the event that “we roll over until the Friday because if we don’t finish Friday we will be rolling over to Christmas Eve.” She said that Ally responded that the debate cannot take place on the day being proposed.
She stressed that the PPP/C will be coming down on government hard. “It’s a no confidence motion, the first one we have ever brought. I would expect so [that we will come hard]”, she said.
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo announced the filing of the motion on November 15th and he subsequently urged that it be debated before Monday’s presentation of the 2019 national budget.
Clerk of the National Assembly Sherlock Isaacs subsequently clarified that it is for a government to decide when a no-confidence motion will be heard.
“In my view, the day for the hearing of a no-confidence motion is determined by the Government and not by the Speaker of the National Assembly of the Parliament of Guyana,” Isaacs said in a press release.
Seeking to dispel opposition claims that government does not want the motion debated, leader of the government’s business in the House, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo later stressed that government is “not running away” from the motion. “We are prepared for a discussion of any such motion but we believe that there are some issues that take precedence over such a motion,” he said, having noted the importance of the budget to the citizenry and their lives.
During a 12-minute live broadcast, Nagamootoo assured that the government has every intention to debate the motion and declared that it will not run away as the PPP/C did when he filed a no-confidence motion against its government in 2014. He informed too that it could not be heard before mid December.
The PM has confidently said that the motion has no reasonable chance of success.
“In this case, the PPP has moved a motion knowing that it has a minority of votes in the National Assembly. It is the government that has the majority,” he said, referring to government’s one-seat majority in the 65-member National Assembly.
According to Nagamootoo, on the surface of it, the no-confidence motion cannot succeed. “It is a no go. It is a no no and therefore you have an opposition saying now, ‘Look it is not that we want it to be approved. If it fails we succeed.’ What kind of logic is that? …You want psychologically to harass the Guyanese people. To use the no confidence motion to frustrate the work of the National Assembly,” he said.
If the motion passes it would require the holding of general elections within 90 days.
Jagdeo contends that the motion is necessary given that the coalition government is damaging the country’s future prospects and he also accusing it of corruption and mismanagement.
“Clearly people are unhappy with the direction of the country; [with the] policies and practice of government…. Government has no vision. We are drifting, they have absolutely no plan for Guyana. They are using up our money on frivolous things, such as celebrations, food and rentals [and] they are borrowing a lot. They are damaging our prospects for the future,” Jagdeo said, while noting that the worst that can happen is that government uses its one-seat majority to defeat the motion.
A sitting of the National Assembly was postponed last month at government’s request to facilitate an urgent meeting with its MPs on the no-confidence motion.