The People’s Progressive Party is calling on the David Granger-led coalition to resign now in keeping with the provisions of the constitution on the approval of a no confidence motion against the government, and it has written to the Chief Justice asking that it be heard should government seek an ex parte injunction to stay the successful no-confidence motion.
Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo said yesterday that based on intelligence the PPP has gathered, Government is looking at six options to hang onto office.
He told the media outside Freedom House in Georgetown that the party deposited a letter at Chief Justice Roxane George’s office asking to be heard on any ex parte arrangements put forward by the government to stay last Friday’s no-confidence motion against the government.
“We believe that the judiciary must not engage in any action that could violate what is so explicit in our constitution and it is explicit that Government must resign or else we will have a judicial coup reversing what took place in Parliament. We cannot have that. The constitution is clear.”
Coming out of yesterday’s Executive Commi-ttee meeting of the party, Jagdeo said, “This government must now resign. They should have resigned already.”
On the approval of the no confidence motion, Jagdeo said the Prime Minister was clear that the country has to go to the polls but “Suddenly, we hear about a Cabinet sub-committee being formed to look at legal options. What legal options?”
The six options that Government is exploring to remain in office, Jagdeo said, includes 34 to 31 being the new majority, that once committed to a list or to a party, a member of parliament cannot vote against the list as that would be deemed illegal, and that the MPs can go back to the Parliament fill the seat that Charrandas Persaud, the former government MP who voted in favour of the motion, has left vacant and have another round of voting to reverse what has happened already.
Another option is challenging Persaud’s citizenship, Jagdeo said. The logic of Persaud holding citizenship from abroad would invalidate all of his previous votes in the Parliament, he said.
The PPP also heard, he said that Government wants to approach the Speaker, Dr Barton Scotland to have him reverse his ruling that the no confidence motion was validly passed.
The sixth option, he said, is that Government is exploring getting someone to file a motion making the respondents, the Attorney General and the Speaker, to issue a consent judgment that something illegal took place.
“All of these are legal maneuverings to thwart the will of the people and the Constitution. We are vigilant about this and we are not about to let that happen. This government has lost a no confidence motion and the constitution has provided a clear prescription. They should have resigned by now. That is what 106.6 of the Constitution says. It does not say ‘may’ resign. It says ‘shall’ resign on the passage of the no confidence motion.”
He said, “If elections are not held within 90 days this government becomes unconstitutional. We are preparing for elections in 90 days’ time. It is quite clear that if elections are not held in 90 days’ time, then this Government becomes unconstitutional one day after that 90 days have expired.”
Asked if the party was prepared to extend the time beyond the 90 days for the holding of elections, Jagdeo said, “This is what the discussion with the President must entail. Would GECOM (Guyana Elections Commission) be ready in 90 days’ time? We believe that GECOM could be ready, but assuming that GECOM needs like two weeks or a month more, then that could be a possibility. Only then could the National Assembly legitimately be reconvened because that is explicitly spoken about in Article 106 and 106.7 (of the Constitution) that by two thirds vote of the National Assembly you can extend the three-month period. Only in those circumstances but it has to be done with our approval.”
Jagdeo said he was prepared to meet with the President at any time but the President is not in the country. He is currently in Cuba taking treatment for his medical condition.
In the meantime, he said, government ministers are just going about managing as though nothing has happened in the country.
He is predicting that the coalition will lose the elections as massively as they did in the recent local government elections.
This is the same government when in opposition, he said, had argued when former President Donald Ramotar had prorogued the Parliament using a constitutional tool, that he was running from the no confidence motion.
Having fallen in a no confidence motion, he said, they should have resigned already but were a desperate bunch hanging on.