Ninety days have now passed since the No-confidence Motion was passed, seeing the collapse of the David Granger-led Administration.
Article 106 (6) and (7) of the Constitution states, respectively: “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.” And “Notwithstanding its defeat, the Government shall remain in office and shall hold an election within three months, or such longer period as the National Assembly shall by resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of the votes of all the elected members of the National Assembly determine, and shall resign after the President takes the oath of office following the election.”
On December 21, 2018, the Administration suffered a humiliating defeat in a No-confidence Motion brought by the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP). The motion was carried as a Government Member of Parliament voted with the PPP.
From the second day following the success of the motion and from what is evident publicly, it appeared that the Government was not too keen to implement the necessary mechanism to meet the 90-day requirement as mandated by the Constitution. Instead, it has resorted to the courts. Today the Court of Appeal will rule on those challenges filed by the Government. Over the past 90 days, prominent and ordinary citizens continue their calls on the Government to respect what the supreme law of the land dictates and as expected – for the Government – nothing happen before the court rules.
A plethora of excuses, including absurd Mathematics, are used to support its case despite the unambiguity of the Constitution on a no-confidence motion and its ensuing process.
In the same manner, in keeping with their action as if the No-confidence Motion never happened, for the Head of State, it seems to be business as usual. Over the past 90 days also, there appeared to be no dissimilarity in the action of the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
He would be excused during the time of his illness. That aside after he returned to work, 31 days after the no-confidence motion, there was nothing on his agenda to address the constitutional requirement for the holding of elections. For the GECOM Chairman, who is a retired Judge, it can also be interpreted as if the passage of the No-confidence Motion never happened.
In 2015, General and Regional Elections were held about a year and a half earlier than constitutional due. The reasons for that should be revisited and in doing so, it would present a particular context of the current political situation facing the country. Donald Ramotar was President at that time, having come to office in 2011 with a minority Government; the first and only Executive President thus far to be in that unenviable position.
A leader is made and remembered for hard decisions taken in the best interest of the nation. President David Granger can rise above his Party’s grab to stay in power and call the election. He can announce that in the best interest of Guyana and Guyanese, he will not continue to pursue this current path.
At one point he said that if the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is ready, he will call the elections. Despite GECOM’s delay, it recently indicated that the voters’ list can be cleaned implying readiness. With that in mind, he can seek the Opposition’s support today for an extension. In doing so he will remove any ambiguity over his concern for the welfare of the country in the context of his recent statement of fully exhausting the courts.
In other words, he must act Presidential since he is not the President of APNU/AFC but for all of Guyana. That is what he stated when he was sworn in at Parliament Buildings in May 2015. The President in one action can still salvage the nation’s image.