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PPP writes Chief Justice as gov’t decides “on the way forward” on no-confidence motion

Chief Justice, Roxane George-Wiltshire

Even as the Guyana government continued to mull its legal options on dealing with the no-confidence motion that it lost last Friday, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) on Thursday wrote the Chief Justice, Roxane George-Wiltshire, asking to be heard in an any one-sided case that might be filed by the government.

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo told reporters that the letter was dispatched in light of information received that government was considering several possible legal challenges to the no-confidence motion that was defeated after a government parliamentarian sided with the PPP.

“This morning we deposited a letter in the Chief Justice’s office to say any attempt to seek ex parte arrangements to stay the no-confidence motion, we want to be heard on it but we believe that the judiciary must not engage in any action that could violate what is so explicit in our Constitution and it’s explicit that the government must resign or else we’ll have a judicial coup reversing what took place in parliament,” Jagdeo said.

“What legal options? You have failed on a no-confidence motion, You have to resign. There are no legal options to explore,” Jagdeo told reporters shortly after a PPP Executive Committee meeting.

Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo.

Jagdeo, who is also the PPP’s General Secretary, said his party has learnt that the government was exploring six options to challenge the constitutionality of the no-confidence motion. They are that 34 is the new majority in the 65-seat National Assembly, parliamentarians could not vote against a party list to which it is committed, replace defected government parliamentarian, Charrandass Persaud and call a confidence vote to reverse the no-confidence vote, Persaud’s foreign citizenship, ask House Speaker Dr. Barton Scotland to reverse the decision, or have an individual file a court case against the House Speaker and the Attorney General, Basil Williams, to have them consent to a judgement that something illegal took place.

“All of these are legal maneuverings to thwart the will of the people and the Constitution and we are vigilant about this. We will not let it happen. This government has lost a no-confidence motion,” said Jagdeo who served as Guyana’s President from 1999 to 2011.

Meanwhile, the Guyana government said it received on Thursday “a number of recommendations” from the Attorney General and the “Cabinet discussed various options and took certain decisions on the way forward.”

“The Coalition Government assures its supporters and the public that it will pursue all available options and act in the best interest of all Guyanese,” the Guyana Government said.

Jagdeo said ideally the government should resign, but the constitution allows it to remain in office and even extend the life of the administration beyond the 90-day deadline for general elections to be held.

If the Guyana Elections Commission is not ready to hold the elections by March 21, 2019, the Opposition Leader said the PPP would be willing to lend its support for an extension of a few weeks or one month.

GECOM’s preparations would include getting more funds from the National Treasury, training elections day staff, holding a claims and objections period for the entire country, printing ballots and other elections material for overseas, establishing polling stations and distributing polling day materials.