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Opposition to study no-confidence vote ; PSC uneasy

Leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Khemraj Ramjattan said his party and a A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) on Thursday agreed that they should study the pros and cons of a no-confidence vote in the government that would inevitably lead to an early general election.

Guyanese are constitutionally expected to return to the polls in 2016.

But the AFC recently floated the idea of calling a no-confidence vote in the Donald Ramotar administration dueto  what it says is a range of excesses and bad governance.

Ramjattan said his party and APNU would also be discussing the possibility of the confidence vote with stakeholders before arriving at a final decision. “We have to discuss it with lots of our other people, other party members, other stakeholders to get a sense as to whether first of all it would be supported by them,” he told Demerara Waves Online News.

The AFC, he said, has so far gleaned in Georgetown and its environs  that there is “tremendous support” for a no-confidence vote that would force the President to dissolve the Parliament and call elections in 90 days.

Describing the talks with APNU as “very fruitful,” Ramjattan said he and his delegation discussed his party’s motivation behind the idea of a no-confidence vote. Chief among the AFC’s concerns, he said, are government’s abuse of the Constitution in spending monies from the contingency fund, the absence of the constitutionally mandated Procurement Commission, long-delayed local government elections and the undiplomatic relationship with the United States (US).

Acting Foreign Minister, Priya Manickchand on Wednesday castigated outgoing American Ambassador, Brent Hardt at a US Independence Day reception he held at his residence.  Despite being drowned out by boos and jeers, she condemned Hardt’s interference in Guyana’s internal affairs, saying that he has “crossed the red line.” Hardt has been very vocal in calling on the Guyana government to hold local government elections because all of the reasons given for not doing so amounted to very poor excuses.

The Private Sector Commission (PSC) has already registered its reservations about a no-confidence motion, saying that it would “signal political instability to our foreign investors, financiers, customers and suppliers” and increase the cost of doing business.

“This will further increase the political risk premium added to the cost of capital when overseas funding is sought by Private Entities and can negatively impact our economy,” the PSC added.

The PSC said it believed that if progress was to be made in a dispensation where a minority Government and a Majority Opposition exist the political culture should consist of dialogue, compromise and patriotism on issues of national interest and development.

The business organization said that culture has been very much absent since our last general elections in 2011 as both sides of the house have exposed their limitations in dealing with such a dispensation.

“The calling for elections prematurely is signaling that only in a “winner takes all” environment can progress be made. This does not auger well for a plural society such as Guyana,” added the PSC.

The PSC says it is not hopeful that General Elections will automatically resolve many of the problems facing the country but expected the electoral management machinery to be well-oiled and that everyone would accept the results. “We would also hope that whatever the results, that they would be accepted by all and that the country can move forward so that every member of our population can be guaranteed a better life,”  added the PSC.