Last Updated on Monday, 24 December 2018, 16:06 by Denis Chabrol
Even as the Guyana government examines the legal implications of last Friday’s no-confidence motion, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo said “anything could happen in the future” when it comes to the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and the People’s National Congress Reform running the country.
“We have a receptive ear and receptive tone now to any arrangement of the future that will ensure that our people do well,” he said when asked by Demerara Waves Online News. “Rather than be fighting all the time over silly things, whatever that engagement could be or form of togetherness, then we have a receptive ear to it without saying much,” said Jagdeo who is also General Secretary of his People’s Progressive Party (PPP).
The question was posed to him against the background of the international relations climate in which Russia has planned to establish a semi-permanent military base in Venezuela, persistent concerns by the United States about China’s increasingly expansionist policies and programmes in Latin America and the Caribbean, and US-Venezuela relations.
In what appears to be a renewed conciliatory tone from Jagdeo ever since his PPP defeated government in a no-confidence motion last week Friday, Jagdeo said the PPP, PNC and the Alliance For Change all have constituencies who should discuss unity.
“We have to engage everyone. We have to sit down and talk to everyone especially when being divided could be used by people who come here now to benefit now from the opportunities that are emerging now in the oil and gas sector, who can play upon division to secure probably the best deals for themselves and not the country. If we stand united on some major issues, I think we can confront those challenges so quite a bit has changed, too, on the context so this necessitates talking,” he said.
He assured that the Carter Centre has had no influence in his most recent posture towards working closer with the coalition.
The former Guyana President challenged the PNC or AFC to give a similar public commitment instead of engaging in the “divisive rhetoric” such as comments made former PNCR Chairman Basil Williams at Paradise Village, East Coast Demerara and recent remarks by his successor, Volda Lawrence. “They don’t leave any room for engagement so the PPP will always do what is in the best interest of Guyana, our people, all of the,” he added.
He noted that President David Granger has also set a conciliatory tone but the PPP could not be expected to be silent if the PNC did otherwise. “What do you expect us not to do; not to defend our record? The President set a conciliatory tone and the minions have now gone across the country to now set a -hostile PPP, corrupt, we are bad people- once again that’s the message out there so we must sit down now and not defend our record,” he said.
Jagdeo promised to reinforce the PPP’s position at the party level. “I can be categorical to say that we are for engagement that is in the best interest of all the people of Guyana,” he added.
Meanwhile Williams, who is also Guyana’s Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, told Demerara Waves Online News that government was consulting Senior Counsel Rex Mc Kay and other lawyers in the Caribbean about the passage of the no-confidence motion.
Williams could not say if and how soon the no-confidence vote could be challenged in the constitutional jurisdiction of the High Court. He said from all indications, government was preparing for early elections that were otherwise constitutionally due until the latest by August, 2020.
Prominent Guyanese Attorney-at-Law, Nigel Hughes has cited a civil case in Anguilla where Justice Saunders had stated that a fraction could be rounded up or down. In that context, Hughes said the no-confidence motion in Guyana’s National Assembly could only be passed by a minimum of 34 votes instead of 33.
The PPP has 32 seats and the governing APNU+AFC coalition has in the past used its 33 seats to pass and amend laws, as well as approve national budgets and supplementary estimates.