Governing coalition partner, the Alliance For Change (AFC) yesterday called on the opposition PPP/C to withdraw a high-stakes motion of no-confidence against the government which is set to be debated in the National Assembly tomorrow.
In a statement yesterday, AFC Leader Raphael Trotman also called on the PPP/C to accept the outcome of the motion which he said is sure to be voted down by APNU+AFC members.
Trotman’s statement came on the heels of the release of a letter yesterday by PPP/C Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira to Police Commissioner Leslie James voicing concerns at what she said were likely threats to public safety and security.
Dated December 18, the letter to James said that the opposition had received information that there will be an attempt to prevent the Members of the Parliamentary Opposition from entering the compound of the Parliament Buildings tomorrow for the sitting of the National Assembly.
“Our information points to some very ominous plans to physically disrupt the sitting by either invading the Chambers, and, or, creating disruption within the Chambers. The intention is to interrupt the debate and the vote on the No Confidence Motion.
“Further, that these plans include preventing Members of the Parliamentary Opposition from exiting the compound of the Parliament Buildings at the conclusion of the sitting as well as threatening the safety of citizens going about their business beyond the precincts of the Parliament Buildings.
“We, therefore, call on you to take the necessary interventions to ensure that the rule of law prevails and not only the sitting of the National Assembly on December 21, 2018 will be allowed to proceed peacefully but also the safety of citizens beyond the precincts of the Parliament Buildings and property, life and limb will be protected from any efforts to create violence and mayhem”, she said.
Teixeira said she had also brought this information to the attention of the Speaker Dr. Barton Scotland.
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo had voiced similar concerns at a press conference on Wednesday.
Yesterday Trotman hit back at the PPP/C claims. He said that the AFC is just as concerned as the PPP about peace and order tomorrow and has sought assurances from the Minister of Public Security about the security arrangements for the Public Buildings, the Members of Parliament and those who are likely to congregate outside to support either side.
“We have been assured that the security forces are fully mobilised and prepared to ensure that there is no breach of the peace
“We have heard our share of rumours of diabolical plots by the PPP, and of moves to disrupt the House when the vote on the Motion fails. We have cautioned our MPs to be vigilant even before and during the debate and ask our supporters to be on the lookout for agent provocateurs who we understand will try to infiltrate their numbers and cause confusion.
“For our democracy to prevail we must respect each other’s views and we beseech the PPP to accept the vote”, Trotman said.
He then went on to attack the PPP/C over the timing of the motion of no-confidence.
“It is bad enough that this Motion was introduced immediately when His Excellency President David Granger announced that he was seeking medical attention and needed the nation’s support. The PPP has to understand that thousands see this as a cowardly attack on the President and are rightly outraged, he said.
The motion was announced some weeks after the government declaration that President David Granger was ill with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
Trotman’s statement added that the recently passed 2019 budget presented the best opportunity for a debate on the policies and programmes of the government and it was passed without any dissent by the PPP. He said that the no-confidence motion is at best superfluous, and vexatious and at worse, a cowardly manoeuvre against the President, and should be withdrawn.
“The AFC urges the PPP leaders to respect the views of all Guyana and to call on their supporters to respect the views of the majority when the motion is voted down as we are certain it will be”, he stated.
Meanwhile, five speakers from each side of the political divide will speak on the no-confidence motion tomorrow beginning from 2 pm. Teixeira yesterday told Stabroek News that Leader of the Opposition Jagdeo, who filed the motion, will lead off and close the debate.
The much anticipated debate has attracted furious conversation in the public domain with speculation that there could be breakaways in voting from either side.
Leader of Government Business in the House, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo has said, the motion will be defeated.
On the other hand Jagdeo has said that Government was panicking at the upcoming debate and vote as all it takes will be one government member of parliament to vote for the no-confidence motion or two abstentions to trigger a collapse of the government.
In the National Assembly the government controls 33 seats while PPP/C holds 32 seats. If the motion is carried general elections will have to be called.