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Private Sector Commission, Roman Catholic Church welcome top politicians’ positions on no-confidence motion

The headquarters of the Private Sector Commission, Waterloo Street, Georgetown

The Private Sector Commission (PSC) and the Roman Catholic Church on Thursday welcomed the decision by Guyana’s top political leaders to accept the vote on the no-confidence motion that saw government being defeated.

While the PSC was more direct in saying the next step should be general elections following the confidence vote, the Roman Catholic Church was cautious in saying that Guyana has “entered uncharted territory”.

“The Private Sector Commission pledges to work with all political parties, members of civil society and all stakeholders to seek a peaceful lead-up to National and Regional elections in accordance with the Constitution of Guyana,” the umbrella business organisation said. The PSC added that it welcomed the Guyana Elections Commission’s public pronouncement that that they are ready for elections.

If nothing about last Friday’s no-confidence motion changes, Guyanese could be going to the polls to elect a new government of their choice by March 19, 2019.

Roman Catholic Bishop, Francis Alleyne applauded the “maturity of the utterance of our political leaders, the President, Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in particular, for respecting the outcome of the no confidence motion and for signaling their intent to engage each other.”

The Roman Catholic Church’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

Similarly, the PSC said it was “heartened by the principled positions taken by the President of Guyana, the Prime Minister of Guyana and the Speaker of the National Assembly regarding the outcome of the vote of no confidence as well as the subsequent public statement by the Leader of the Opposition on the subject of national unity.”

The Roman Catholic Church called on Guyanese to give hope, increase the accountability of elected leaders to the people especially youths. “Our leaders would do well to acknowledge the extent to which the people, our youth particularly, have lost confidence in the broader political process, and to grasp the opportunity now presented to reshape Guyana’s future,” Bishop Alleyne said.

“Guyana needs, in the immediate period ahead, to instill renewed hope of the People in their nation, increase the accountability of elected leaders to the People as opposed to the parties, and to promote the reconciliation needed for increased socio-political trust in Guyana. The fruits of such engagements will augur well for our future and national ability to offer a unified face to the world,” he said.

The British High Commission in Guyana has also urged Guyanese to respect the process.

Although the parliaments in Timor-Leste, Spain and Sri Lanka provide for the rounding up of .5 to the nearest whole number for a majority vote in no-confidence motions, Guyanese Attorney-at-Law Nigel Hughes has argued that the Guyana vote should at a minimum be 32.5  (half of the 65 members of the National Assembly) rounded up to 33 plus another vote, bringing the required total to 34 votes.

Now expelled and recalled government lawmaker, Charrandass Persaud lent his support to the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) to pass the Bharrat Jagdeo-sponsored no-confidence motion 33 to 32.