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AFC tells Ramotar time-up, ready for no-confidence

President Donald Ramotar

The smaller opposition Alliance For Change (AFC) has told President Donald Ramotar that it is going ahead with its vote of no confidence in the government that will inevitably see Guyana going into early general elections before year end if approved by the combined opposition-controlled House.

AFC Leader Khemraj Ramjattan told the Guyanese leader that he was pushing ahead with the no confidence vote because government was spending millions of dollars from the Consolidated Fund without parliamentary approval. “Our Party sees no other alternative than to proceed with this constitutional mechanism for removal of an unpopular Government that has ceased to enjoy the confidence of the National Assembly and who by its actions has demonstrated an unlawful and contemptuous disregard for the Supreme Law of the Country,” he said in the July 17, 2014 letter.

The Guyana government has maintained that it has been using money from the Fund in keeping with the constitution and High Court rulings on budget cuts.

A Partnership for National Unity’s (APNU) spokesman, Mark Archer has told reporters that his opposition coalition was exploring a number of options including the no-confidence vote. 

Following is the full text of the AFC Leader’s letter to the President and copied to Opposition Leader David Granger.

Dear Mr. President,

I write to you out of deep concern over the unauthorized and unconstitutional withdrawals made from our nation’s Consolidated Fund by the Minister of Finance.

It is my Party’s belief that such withdrawals as reported in Financial Paper #1 of 2014 are in clear contravention of Article 217 of the Constitution of the Republic of Guyana and Section 16 of the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act.

In addition, we believe that this action taken by your Government greatly exceeds the mandate given by the people of Guyana in the elections of 2011, in which your party received 48% of the vote. I wish to emphasize that the Alliance For Change has always respected the results of those elections, the supremacy of the Constitution of Guyana and the rule of law which are the bases on which your party ought to govern.

I wish also to emphasize that the will of the Guyanese people is reflected in the composition of the National Assembly, and that one of the key roles played by that body is the authorisation of all public spending.

My Party therefore finds it wholly unacceptable that your Government is now spending from the Consolidated Fund beyond the provisions of the Appropriations Act of 2014 or any other approved by the National Assembly.

We cannot condone participate in or lend any support to such a serious breach of the Constitution and laws of Guyana, and we find it necessary in the light of the clear and present danger to the Constitution and the rule of law to explore all options necessary for safeguarding the public purse against further lawless spending.

I am aware that Article 106(6) of our Constitution provides an option that is currently being discussed nationwide i.e. the forced resignation of the Cabinet including the President following a defeat in the National Assembly on a vote of no-confidence.

In the light of what has occurred, I wish to formally clarify that my Party has indeed been actively considering this option and currently is of the view that the options for lawful and constitutional alternatives have rapidly decreased.

Our Party sees no other alternative than to proceed with this constitutional mechanism for removal of an unpopular Government that has ceased to enjoy the confidence of the National Assembly and who by its actions has demonstrated an unlawful and contemptuous disregard for the Supreme Law of the Country.