People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) presidential candidate, Irfaan Ali and its General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo Sunday night rejected incumbent President, David Granger’s desire to amend no-confidence motion provisions of Guyana’s constitution.
Addressing the launch of the PPPC’s 2020 electoral campaign at the Kitty Market Square, Ali made it clear that his party’s constitutional reform agenda would not include removing the no-confidence motion sections of the constitution.
“As your president, no-confidence is not nonsense that must be cured by constitutional reform. It is an important check and balance mechanism in a true democracy and it is to stop oppressive government and it is to protect the people and that is why this government fell because they became oppressive and because they trampled upon the people of this country,” he said.
For his part, the PPP General Secretary said the parliaments of India and the United Kingdom provide for the removal of authoritarian governments through the passage of no-confidence motions by one vote. He said Granger’s constitutional reform plan was aimed at entrenching dictatorship by removing the possibility of his government collapsing through a no-confidence motion. “At that very same launch, there was something very revealing, very dark about the future of this country . It was a threat by Granger to deal with constitutional reform…The only thing he wants to change in the constitution is to get rid of the no-confidence motion,” he said. “Granger wants to change that here. He feels aggrieved, Mr. Dictator. That is the alternative to a PPP victory; you can see it, It’s ominous,” he said.
Jagdeo quipped that, “Thank God, the PPP will win the election and we will keep the no-confidence motion,” he said.
He said Granger’s plan is unlike the PPPC’s which includes creating a more inclusive electoral system and possibly power sharing and reform of the Guyana Elections Commission.
Granger, who is A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) presidential candidate, told his 2020 campaign launch Friday night that his constitutional reform agenda would include addressing the issue of a no-confidence motion.
While in opposition, the AFC’s Moses Nagamootoo had sponsored a no-confidence motion on behalf of the entire opposition, but the then Donald Ramotar administration had prorogued the Parliament to prevent the motion from being debated and put to the vote.
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) last year June ruled that the December 2018 no-confidence motion against the Granger-led administration had been validly passed by 33-32 votes, a majority of all elected members of the National Assembly. The Jagdeo-sponsored motion was passed when government backbencher, Charrandass Persaud, voted ‘yes’.
The CCJ ruled that, in keeping with Guyana’s constitution, despite the fact that Persaud had not been eligible to be an electoral candidate and a parliamentarian because he is the holder of dual citizenship, all decisions made by the Parliament were still valid.