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While as­sur­ing that gov­ern­ment will abide by the con­sti­tu­tional re­quire­ments fol­low­ing Fri­day’s pas­sage of a no-con­fi­dence mo­tion against his ad­min­is­tra­tion, Pres­i­dent David Granger yes­ter­day said that he is anx­ious to meet with Op­po­si­tion Leader Bhar­rat Jagdeo to dis­cuss his con­cerns.

This is ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from the Min­istry of the Pres­i­dency which did not give a def­i­nite date for a meet­ing be­tween the two lead­ers.

“Mr. Jagdeo con­tacted the Min­is­ter of State and a meet­ing will be ar­ranged as early as pos­si­ble so that his con­cerns can be ad­dressed,” the state­ment quoted the pres­i­dent as say­ing.

The meet­ing will have to be set around the pres­i­dent’s sched­uled trips to Cuba where he is re­ceiv­ing chemo­ther­apy treat­ment for Non-Hodgkin Lym­phoma, a form of cancer. He was di­ag­nosed in Novem­ber af­ter trav­el­ling to the is­land for med­i­cal in­ves­ti­ga­tions. The trip was prompted by an ear­lier visit to Trinidad where doc­tors dis­cov­ered some symp­toms which needed fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion. So far he has had surgery and has un­der­gone chemo­ther­apy treat­ments.

Con­tacted yes­ter­day, Deputy Direc­tor of Press Af­fairs at the Min­istry of the Pres­i­dency (MotP), Ari­ana Gor­don in­formed that the pres­i­dent will re­turn to Cuba later this week and re­minded that in an ear­lier press re­lease it was stated that he has trips sched­uled un­til May, 2019.

It doesn’t ap­pear likely that the meet­ing would take place be­fore the end of the year.

In the state­ment from the Min­istry of the Pres­i­dency, the Pres­i­dent said that his gov­ern­ment will em­bark on dis­cus­sions with its coali­tion part­ners the Al­liance for Change (AFC) and those who are part of A Part­ner­ship for Na­tional Unity (APNU).

“We will do ev­ery­thing nec­es­sary to fa­cil­i­tate the smooth func­tion­ing of Gen­eral and Re­gional Elec­tions bear­ing in mind the need for nor­mal gov­ern­men­tal func­tions to con­tinue un­in­ter­rupted,” Granger said.

The Pres­i­dent added that he is anx­ious to en­gage Jagdeo on any con­cerns he may have and as­sured the Guyanese peo­ple “that this is not a cri­sis which could dis­solve into any type of con­fronta­tion.”

Jagdeo’s mo­tion of no­con­fi­dence was crafted on the heels of the Novem­ber 12 lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions where the PPP/C stormed to im­pres­sive wins. The mo­tion was passed af­ter gov­ern­ment MP Char­ran­das Per­saud voted for it. This meant that 33 per­sons voted in favour while 32 voted against.

Stunned af­ter the par­lia­men­tary de­feat, the gov­ern­ment called a press con­fer­ence at Par­lia­ment Build­ing and said that prior to the com­mence­ment of the de­bate of the PPP/C’s no con­fi­dence mo­tion, Per­saud had given no in­di­ca­tion that he was in sup­port of it.

“He did not in­di­cate. I think that we were to­tally be­trayed by Mr. Char­ran­das’ ac­tions tonight. We had no in­di­ca­tion that that was the way he was go­ing to go,” a vis­i­bly shocked Op­po­si­tion Chief Whip Amna Ally said dur­ing the press con­fer­ence.

Prime Min­is­ter Moses Nag­amootoo dur­ing the press con­fer­ence noted that af­ter a no-con­fi­dence mo­tion is ap­proved by a ma­jor­ity of all the elected

mem­bers, the House is di­rected by Ar­ti­cle 106 (6) and (7) of the Con­sti­tu­tion, which in sum­mary states that upon the pas­sage of a no con­fi­dence mo­tion in the House, the gov­ern­ment shall re­sign and hold elec­tions within three months, un­less oth­er­wise de­cided for a longer pe­riod in which elec­tions could be held by two thirds of the mem­bers of the Na­tional As­sem­bly.

Nag­amootoo in­formed that given the de­vel­op­ment, gov­ern­ment will be seek­ing le­gal ad­vice.

“As it is, the As­sem­bly has not met and that is an­other is­sue be­fore us but the gov­ern­ment re­mains in of­fice un­til such time as elec­tions are called and this is mat­ter that will en­gage the at­ten­tion of the gov­ern­ment and our le­gal ad­vi­sors as to what are the op­tions avail­able and what are the time­lines for those op­tions,” he said be­fore re­it­er­at­ing that as the con­sti­tu­tion states elec­tions are to be held within 90 days.

He later ex­pressed con­fi­dence that gov­ern­ment will re­turn to power de­spite the poor show­ing of its sup­port­ers at the just con­cluded lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions.

David Granger

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