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Speaker says No Confidence Motion in order; Ramotar plays election card close

The Parliament Building

House Speaker, Raphael Trotman has given the green-light for the opposition-sponsored no-confidence motion against the government to be debated when parliament resumes less than two months from now, but President Donald Ramotar gave on Friday gave no clear indication of whether he would call elections before.

“I like to make decisions when the time has come for me to make the decision and that time has not reached yet for me to decide if I should wait for the no-confidence vote or if I should call the elections myself,” Ramotar told a news conference.

Ramotar, however, conceded that the readiness of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) would be one of the considerations and he observed that the elections management authority needed less time to prepare for a national poll rather than local government elections. He said there were other considerations but he did not elaborate.

“They could very well be more ready for a national election than for local government elections because it is a different procedure that has to be gone through. With Local Government Elections you have to create boundaries and all of that,” he said.

Asked if he and his administration would be willing to hold last minute talks with A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC) to avoid the no-confidence vote, the President reiterated that he was not opposed to talks but the opposition has to decide. “The opposition has put this Motion into the National Assembly. We have never been adverse to any talks. We have never closed the door to any type of talks so really the ball is completely in the court of the opposition,” he said.

The House Speaker told Demerara Waves Online News that after receiving the Motion and accompanying documentation formally from the Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs earlier this week, he conducted some research and agreed that the AFC-sponsored motion could be placed on the agenda of the next sitting after the two-month recess ends on October 10. “I have satisfied myself that the motion meets the criteria required for a Motion in the Guyana Parliament and I have so advised the Clerk,” said Trotman.

The Speaker said he has not been asked to convene an emergency sitting of the 65-seat Assembly and so he could not take steps to do so.

Trotman said a government, faced with a no-confidence motion, has three choices: negotiate with or even share power with the opposition to sustain itself in office or agree to some demands, pre-empt the motion by calling early general elections or allow the motion to be debated and passed.

APNU has decided to support the AFC-sponsored motion, clearing the way for its passage and resignation of the President and Cabinet, and the holding of general election and regional elections in 90 days.

The opposition parties have decided to vote in favour of the motion, citing government’s spending of GUY$4.5 billion from the Consolidated Fund on programmes and projects that have been already disapproved by the House.  However, government has maintained that it has not violated the law or the constitution in spending the monies.