What is happening in Guyana since the passage of the no-confidence motion is ridiculous, to say the least. It is very clear that the majority of the 65 seats in Parliament is 33, but for some bizarre reason, someone put forward the proposition that 34 and not 33 votes are required by Members of Parliament (MPs) for the motion to pass.
This was made two days after the votes were certified by the Clerk of the Assembly, and both the President and the Prime Minister accepted the outcome and the speaker’s decision that the motion was carried.
No one in the government had objected to the 33 vote majority that formed the basis of the Speaker’s decision, not even the Prime Minister or the Attorney General who claimed that prior to the vote, he knew that 34 votes were required to pass the motion, but kept it secret.
While some are stunned by the sudden defeat of the government, others, especially supporters of the PPP welcome it. The fact is the government participated in the process with the belief that 33 votes constitutes a majority of 65. Suddenly, the government latched on to the notion proffered by one of the country’s prominent lawyers that 34 votes and not 33 were required to pass the motion.
Having failed to get the Speaker to reverse his decision in what is known as a belated objection, the government has turned to the High Court to resolve the issue.
However, the government was so confident of victory that before the vote was taken, its chief whip and Minister of Social Affairs goaded the opposition in Parliament about its chances of success of the no-confidence motion, using the 32/33 composition of Parliament as the basis. Likewise, Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo, who is the leader of government business in Parliament, stated in a video that 33 votes are required to win the no-confidence motion and the opposition only has 32 MPs.
Clearly, the government had vouched for the integrity of all its MPs. But they could not have envisioned what was about to happen in Parliament. Their hopes were dashed when APNU+AFC MP Charrandass Persaud sided with the opposition and voted in favour of the motion.
Political Scientists have contended that it would be problematic for the government to prove its case in court because it had agreed to participate in the parliamentary process with a clear under-standing of the established rules and conditions. But after an unfavorable outcome of the results, the government has decided to challenge the result by rejecting the same rules and conditions it has accepted prior to the vote.
They claimed that the government had consented to the rules as interpreted by the Speaker of the House. The essence of that interpretation is that 33 votes by either side constitute an absolute majority of all 65 elected members of Parliament. But after the Speaker ruled that the motion was carried, the government threw a temper tantrum.
After all, it was the government that selected Charrandass Persaud as an elected Member of Parliament. And for almost four years, the government had relied on his vote to pass the budget and several other legislations in Parliament.
If the government had suspected him or anyone of its other MPs were compromised as it stated after the vote, then it was foolhardy for the government to allow the no-Confidence motion to proceed.
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