De­bate on PPP/C con­fi­dence mo­tion against gov’t un­likely be­fore mid-De­cem­ber

-PM says no rea­son­able chance of suc­cess

Stabroek News Sunday - - REGIONAL NEWS -

The op­po­si­tion PPP/C’s no-con­fi­dence mo­tion against the govern­ment will not be de­bated in the Na­tional As­sem­bly be­fore mid-De­cem­ber, ac­cord­ing to Prime Min­is­ter Moses Nag­amootoo, who main­tains that it has no chance of suc­ceed­ing.

“It is not a vi­able mo­tion. It is a mo­tion that is bred out of des­per­a­tion… op­po­si­tion frus­tra­tion, by op­por­tunism to look for­ward to the new wealth of Guyana and try­ing to destab­lise our beau­ti­ful coun­try,” Nag­amootoo said dur­ing a live stream on the Depart­ment of Pub­lic In­for­ma­tion’s Face­book page.

Dur­ing the 12-minute broad­cast, Nag­amootoo as­sured that the govern­ment has ev­ery in­ten­tion to de­bate the mo­tion and pointed out that it will not run away as the PPP/C did when he filed a no-con­fi­dence mo­tion against its govern­ment in 2014.

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 no­con­fi­dence 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, Nag­amootoo on Fri­day 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.

After mak­ing ref­er­ence to a let­ter from Isaacs to the op­po­si­tion ex­plain­ing that the mo­tion will not be con­sid­ered un­til after the de­bate of the na­tional bud­get and con­sid­er­a­tion of the es­ti­mates, Nag­amootoo said that by his cal­cu­la­tion, the de­bate would not be pos­si­ble un­til after “the 15th or 16th of De­cem­ber or per­haps later.”

Not­ing that govern­ment has been ad­vised by the Clerk that it is re­spon­si­ble for set­ting a date for the dis­cus­sion of the no-con­fi­dence mo­tion, he ques­tioned its timing and he once again sug­gested that the op­po­si­tion is in­cor­rectly us­ing the re­sults of the lo­cal govern­ment elec­tions, where it amassed 61% of the to­tal de­clared votes, as a ref­er­en­dum on the govern­ment

Nag­amootoo added that such an as­sump­tion not only mis­rep­re­sents the no­tion of lo­cal govern­ment elec­tions but is be­ing used in an op­por­tunis­tic way to sug­gest that the mo­tion could in fact suc­ceed.

“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.

Nag­amootoo, an at­tor­ney, also stressed that the mo­tion would fail if the votes are tied as pas­sage re­quires a ma­jor­ity of the elected mem­bers of the Na­tional As­sem­bly.

“The op­po­si­tion doesn’t have that. It is the govern­ment that had 33 mem­bers who are elected and sit­ting in the Na­tional As­sem­bly,” he stressed, be­fore adding that de­spite this the op­po­si­tion still wants the mo­tion de­bated.

“This mo­tion by the op­po­si­tion has no rea­son­able prospect of any suc­cess in the Na­tional As­sem­bly,” he added.

Nag­amootoo, in deny­ing the op­po­si­tion’s claim that govern­ment is stalling the de­bate of the mo­tion, also re­minded of the PPP/C’s record in treat­ing with the no­con­fi­dence mo­tion he filed against its govern­ment.

He noted that he tabled such a mo­tion on Au­gust 9th, 2014 and the govern­ment of the day re­fused to have it de­bated and in­stead then Pres­i­dent Don­ald Ramo­tar sub­se­quently pro­rogued Par­lia­ment, set­ting the stage for gen­eral elec­tions. “He sud­denly sent every­one home for six months and he never re­con­vened the Na­tional As­sem­bly to de­bate my mo­tion of no con­fi­dence,” Nag­amootoo said, while adding that at the time then op­po­si­tion held the ma­jor­ity.

“So we have a moral right to be able to put a mo­tion be­cause we were sure that such a mo­tion could pass, [be]cause we had the ma­jor­ity of votes,” he said.

Re­spond­ing to Nag­amootoo on Fri­day, the PPP crit­i­cised him, say­ing that while he claimed the mo­tion is an act of des­per­a­tion and boasts that it would be de­feated, he ar­gued for a de­lay in de­bat­ing it.

“As they say, the proof of the pud­ding is in the eat­ing: Nag­amootoo should stop spout­ing hot air and bring on the No­Con­fi­dence Mo­tion for de­bate ear­li­est,” it said. “De­spite all the “fat talk,” the truth is he is scared to death to do so. In­stead, he par­rots the Govern­ment’s po­si­tion that the bud­get must be pre­sented and de­bated first,” it added, while re­it­er­at­ing its call for the mo­tion to be de­bated in the Na­tional As­sem­bly at the ear­li­est op­por­tu­nity.

“We say to the Govern­ment, stop the grand­stand­ing out­side the Na­tional As­sem­bly and come to the Na­tional As­sem­bly to de­bate the Mo­tion,” the PPP fur­ther said.

Jagdeo has claimed that the coali­tion govern­ment is dam­ag­ing the coun­try’s fu­ture prospects and has ac­cused 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,” he said after an­nounc­ing the mo­tion.

If the mo­tion passes it would re­quire the hold­ing of gen­eral elec­tions within 90 days.

Moses Nag­amootoo

Bhar­rat Jagdeo

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