Elections likely by January 2015
General elections are likely to be held in Guyana by January 2015 if the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) supports the no-confidence motion by the Alliance For Change (AFC).
The 26-seat Opposition coalition group, APNU has thrown its full support behind a motion of no-confidence to be tabled in the National Assembly by the AFC against the ruling People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government led by President Donald Ramotar.
The APNU took the decision after its Members of Parliament who formed a Shadow Cabinet met on Tuesday afternoon at the Leader of the Opposition’s Office on Hadfield Street, Georgetown to deliberate on the draft AFC motion.
APNU’s Co-Chairman, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine, speaking with the Guyana Times, confirmed that the decision was unanimous and that no dissenting views were expressed during the Shadow Cabinet meeting about the course of action that the party should adopt in response to the motion.
“Well, we didn’t see a full draft, but what we saw was a resolve clause… we did not see any “where as” clauses and…That is what we are going to support when it comes to the House which we anticipate will be at a very early sitting in October,” Roopnaraine advised.
He said “it is very unlikely” that the motion could be debated before the National Assembly goes into recess on August 10 this year. Additionally, he said the party believes that the decision to support the motion was the right step at the correct time given the feeling and mood of the population. He also explained that the APNU has piloted a menu of other actions to demonstrate its lack of confidence in the PPP/C Administration.
He pointed to the party’s move to have the Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh sent to the parliamentary Committee of Privileges for his alleged violation of the decisions of the Parliament. Reference was also made to APNU’s intention to go to the courts for a declaration on the constitutionality of the financial paper.
“We went to discuss other things which would have to do with getting yourself in a state of readiness for the elections, which would be the consequence of a no-confidence vote,” Dr Roopnaraine admitted.
He said APNU’s decision was taken to send another strong message to the ruling administration about its conduct and handling of several national and constitutional issues. “I think it is important that if we were to move a no-confidence motion against the Government, that we move it, because we do not have any confidence in the Government and that should be part of the parliamentary record.”
Roopnaraine’s comments have now removed the uncertainty over the posture of the APNU and the conflicting messages sent by its top brass about potential support for the motion. Opposition Leader David Granger had told media operatives that the matter was “serious” and warranted in-depth discussions before a decision was taken on the way forward. Granger reportedly made reference to the 10th Parliament fulfilling its five-year mandate during APNU’s third anniversary, but clarified that this was never an endorsement of the PPP’s hope of completing a full term in office.
The issue is put to rest, and it was widely speculated and expected that the APNU, which has been working closely with the AFC since 2011, would have adopted this posture giving the impact non-support would have had on its record and image. Additionally, the party’s main partner, the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) had already indicated interest in bringing the Government to its knees via constitutional mechanisms and must have sounded its voice on the matter during discussions.