Guyana’s Coalition Government Asked to Reject No Confidence Vote

Submitted by Rickford Burke, President of the Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID)

Dear Editor:

The Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID) reiterates to all Guyanese and the international community that the December 21, 2018 no confidence vote against the APNU+AFC coalition government of Guyana was unconstitutional. The vote violated several provisions of extant law. The coalition government must embrace all aspects of the constitution as well as the will of the people as expressed in the 2015 elections. Consequently, we call on the government to reject the invocation of Article 106 (6) and (7) of the Guyana constitution by the Parliament of Guyana. This is why the vote was unconstitutional:

(i) AFC government Member of Parliament (MP) Charrandas Persaud who voted with the opposition PPP for the motion violated Article 156.3 (a) and (b) of the Guyana constitution. Article 156.3 (a) prohibits a Member of Parliament from voting against his or her party’s list or side of the House, unless he or she declare that intent in writing to the Speaker. Article 165.3 (b) Mandates that if a Member declares an intent to vote against his own party list he or she ceases to be a Member and must be immediately be expelled from Parliament. Charrandas Persaud failed to declare his intention to vote against his party’s list and for another list. His failures violated both Article 156.3 (a) and (b). His vote is therefore unlawful and should be vitiated. He must also be expelled by the Speaker as prescribed in the law.

(ii) Charrandas Persaud violated Article 155. 1 (a) of the Guyana constitution. Article 155.1 states that “No person shall be qualified for election as a Member of the National Assemble who: (a) “Is by virtue of his or own act, under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state.” Charrandas Persaud is a citizen of Canada, assumption on which he took an oath of allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II. He was therefore not qualified to be a Member of Parliament.

(iii) There is mounting evidence that Charrandas Persaud, opposition politicians and persons in the business community conspired to overthrow the democratically elected government of Guyana. The conspiracy involved using Charrandas Persaud’s no confidence vote to bring down the government. The opposition PPP allegedly engineered the payment of a multimillion dollar bribe to Persaud for his vote. When this information became public, he admitted the bribe, saying in a Facebook post, “So what if I was paid?” Bribing a Member of Parliament is a crime under the Laws of Guyana Criminal Offences Act Chapter 8:01. Sections 336 and 338. The Speaker or the courts will now have to make a determination about this alleged corrupt transaction. The Guyana Police Force has launched an investigation in this treasonous, bribery transaction.

CGID therefore resolutely rejects the notion that the will of the people of Guyana, expressed through the 2015 general elections, and a democratically elected government should be terminated on the basis of a criminal act and a vote that violated Article 155. 1 (a) and Article 156.3 (a) and (b) of the constitution. Moreover, there are serious questions about whether the confidence was passed by the legally required number of votes. “A corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit.”

CGID therefore calls on Speaker of the National Assemble, Dr. Barton Scotland, to nullify the no confidence vote, as Parliament cannot violate the constitution. CGID also calls on the people of Guyana to stand and rise up their voices in rejection of the attempt to overthrow their duly elected government.

Rickford Burke

President of the Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID)

14 comments

  • Yes! reject payoff and crime! The crook Minister need to be looked upon very hard, If the way bought like most Ministers in Barbados, He needs to be jailed then hang him with hemp rope!

    Liked by 1 person

  • On a related note the PPP plans to announce its presidential candidates next month. Declaring an interest are Anil Nandlall, Irfaan Ali, Gail Teixeira and Frank Anthony. Interesting is that all of them indicate should the the presidency Jagdeo will play an important part in the government.

    Like

  • ”Article 156.3 (a) prohibits a Member of Parliament from voting against his or her party’s list or side of the House, unless he or she declare that intent in writing to the Speaker.”

    This seems highly irregular!

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  • @Pacha

    Is it irregular if it is stated?

    Like

  • David
    It is irregular with the traditions of all british parliamentary practice it seems to this non lawyer.
    We have never seen members constrained in this way.

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  • Thanks for the context Pacha. Let us see if one of the legal people opines on your observation.

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  • In addition, these grounds seem specious except those relating to the determination of the 50+1 threshold which seems the best and clearest case strongly supportive of the governing coalition.

    We expect them to prevail.

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  • David

    We just got a report, from a reliable source, an insider, in the Co-operative Republic of Guyana.

    The Speaker has ruled that the law courts can decide the matter.

    The Opposition did not show up, we are told.

    Given the constellations of forces, the timetable, the requirement that it should work its way up the court system to possibly the CCJ – this is the equivalent of ‘kicking the matter in the tall grass’

    Like

  • Rickford Burke is with Shawn Silas and 17 others.
    2 hrs ·

    UPDATE: GUYANA POLICE INVESTIGATION INTO CHARRANDASS PERSAUD/PPP BRIBERY SCANDAL PROGRESSING:

    The Guyana Police Force investigation into the allegations that Charandass Persaud obtained a bribe in exchange for his vote in the National Assembly is on going. Police questioned and obtained a statement from a prominent gold dealer who confirmed that he met in person with Charrandass Persaud in December about the purchase and shipment of a very large quantity of gold to Canada. Persaud wanted to ship several kilograms of gold and was secretive about the consignee of the shipment. Police are also investigating other leads in connection with this matter including a gambling link

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  • Having reviewed the ruling of Baron Scotland, though he says the matter should go to the courts, he did not correct his earlier erroneous ruling.

    There is to be a meeting between Jagdeo and Granger.

    All types of scenarios are now in play with both parties relatively weak with challengers within both the PPP and PNC led coalition, possibly new formations by leading figures as well.

    Like

  • No reversal…No-Confidence motion stands – Speaker tells National Assembly minus Opposition
    Jan 04, 2019 News 0 Comments

    The Motion of No-Confidence against the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) government remains valid, and the government has been urged by the Speaker of the House, Dr. Barton Scotland to work diligently with the Opposition to execute the mandate of the constitution, in this regard.
    The Speaker of the House said that the Attorney General, Basil Williams, asked him to reverse the Motion, and it caused him to consider the arguments placed before him.
    Knowing that the focus of this parliamentary sitting was for the government to attempt a review of the No-Confidence Motion, no opposition members of Parliament were present at yesterday’s proceedings. However, scores of government supporters demonstrated outside of Parliament, decked in green, bearing banners of the APNU+AFC Coalition.

    Dr. Scotland told government MPs that since the motion was carried, he received solicited and unsolicited information “from diverse sources” of case and practice law, concerning similar situations playing out in other Commonwealth countries.
    The information received, Scotland added, caused him to have doubts whether the motion was carried, even though he declared it as such on December 21, last.
    The first argument was that the vote of No-Confidence requires an absolute majority of 34 members, instead of 33 to be declared as carried, or as he explained, half of 65 plus one, rounded to the nearest whole number.
    Scotland said though this contention could be viewed as having the support of article 168 of the Constitution, which provides that “…all questions proposed for decision in the National Assembly shall be determined by a majority of the votes of the members present and voting,” it does not.
    He explained further that this is because the No-Confidence Motion is governed by a separate article; Article 106(6), which states that “The Cabinet including the President shall resign if the Government is defeated by the vote of a majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly on a vote of confidence.”
    The second argument was that Charrandass Persaud, who voted in support of the Motion of No-Confidence against the government, is unqualified to be a member of the National Assembly by virtue of his conduct. The conduct in question is that Persaud, by becoming a citizen of Canada, swore allegiance to that country and, in doing so, breached the Constitution of Guyana.
    The Attorney General, Basil Williams, had raised the contention, days before, that Article 155 (1) (a) of the Constitution, states: “No person shall be qualified for election as a member of the National Assembly who is, by virtue of his own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power or State”.
    The third argument is that Persaud is not constitutionally allowed to abandon support of the list, which he was placed on, that of APNU+AFC, and support another list, yet still retain MP status.
    Though Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo, had said that the Speaker does not have the power to review or reverse his ruling, Scotland said that the Speaker has the authority to revisit rulings he has rendered, and he may reverse them, if he sees that they should not stand.
    However, he said that he will not reverse the motion because the arguments presented to him are not compelling enough for such an action. He said, “The Speaker on this occasion, and without [further adieu], declines the invitation to act in reversal.”
    On the matter of Persaud’s conduct, the Speaker said that there are competing views, as well as multiple interrelating provisions of the Constitution, which need to be examined. Scotland explained that the issues put forward encouraged him to make a choice between divergent interpretations of the Constitution, applicable to a No-Confidence Motion. As a result, he refused to overstep into the territory of the Judiciary.
    The Speaker of the House urged that the efforts of the government and opposition be spent on bringing the dictation of the Constitution to fruition, since no such discussion has taken place yet.
    The Speaker said, “It has been my preference and practice to endeavour to find resolution of any issue which may affect the procedures and practice of Parliament without third party intervention. I must tell you Honourable Members that the issues which we now face, cause us to look outside of Parliament to find answers,” implying that the next step would be to take the matter to the Judiciary.
    He then said, “Full, final and complete settlement of these issues by a Court of competent jurisdiction will place beyond doubt any question, which may exist and serve to give guidance to the Speaker and to the National Assembly for the future.”

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  • I tell you that speaker real shitey.

    They need to get rid of him.Reading reports since he came in – he does not handle the proceedings in the Assembly well.

    David Granger is a weak,ineffectual leader – give me kemraj ramjattan any day – or Basil Williams or anybody so.

    Like

  • There are 30 members of the parliament with dual citizenship. No wonder this is not a disqualifier retroactively for prrsaud.

    David, thsnks for ignoring the naysayers in recognizing that we can’t really understand barbados unless we know all the forces acting around it.

    Like

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