Business community feels “backlash” of no-confidence motion cases – GCCI

…investors want stability – PSC

Guyana has been placed under the spotlight once again with regard to the legal battle over the validly of the No-Confidence Motion passed in the National Assembly on December 21, 2018. However, as these legal battles continue, the business community is impacted as the uncertainty of the cases have had adverse effects on this section of society.
This is according to President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Nicholas Boyer, who during a live broadcast on Globespan 24×7 on Saturday said that the arguments put forward at the Caribbean Court of Justice over the past few days also give the impression that “things are being stymied” in the country.
“All of this back and forth and fighting is without kind of coming to a firm, settled position where you have a Government in place that is legitimate and there, not one that is well may be legitimate, may not be legitimate, depending on how this case goes, has affected business.
The Chamber had done a survey and had shown almost two-thirds of businesses are feeling some effect since this No-Confidence Motion case has been brought so you clearly have that impacting the business climate. So that’s the thing that is being affected the most by this case and we want to come to some sort of finality,” he explained.

PSC President Desmond Sears

According to Boyer, presently, small contractors who are doing work for the Government of the day may feel threatened with regard to job security if he/she feels that the Opposition party, if it is reinstated as the ruling party, will not issue payments or continue with his/her services if the coalition Administration is booted out of office.
Likewise, he pointed out that there are consequences in relation to potential international investors and even the ones who are presently doing business with or in Guyana.
“It has real consequences…and if you are an international investor you are going to say that I made treaties with this Government but if it changes will it be recognised? Or will there be change to these agreements? We have an unnecessary kind of speed bump in the business community,” the GCCI President said.
He added that the entire situation with the validity of the vote has escalated to the point that the country’s business community is facing the backlash and progress has been halted.
“I think what it has done is put us in the spotlight for almost a comical case. I mean going back to the fact of the matter is clearly everybody with common sense understands what we felt should have happened. And it seems to be that you have a Government running from an election process.
So what they are doing, I don’t know who is advising them or who their strategists are but they are spending political capital to, almost minute by minute, ‘cause it would have been a stronger move to go back to the polls,” Boyer said as he lashed out over the matter.
Speaking with Guyana Times on Saturday, President of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), Desmond Sears said that the PSC shares the same sentiments as the GCCI with regard to local businesses being negatively impacted due to the court case at the CCJ.
“A few businesses are waiting on the response to know which direction they should go in. I don’t think businesses would disappear but it is definitely causing a slowdown in the business economy.
Investors who want to invest in something here are taking into consideration the business climate, political situations, etc because they want to know that when they invest their monies it is in a good environment etc,” Sears explained.
He added that the PSC is awaiting the CCJ’s ruling and hopes that it is done expediently.
On December 21, the No-confidence Motion brought by the parliamentary Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP/C) against the Government succeeded when former AFC Member of Parliament Charrandas Persaud broke ranks and made a conscience vote in favour of the motion.
With the Government’s defeat, the next steps are spelt out in the Constitution of Guyana. Clause 7 of Article 106 goes on to state that “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”.
President David Granger had initially committed to following the provisions outlined in the Constitution, facilitating early elections and engaging in dialogue with the Leader of the Opposition.
Since the passage of the motion on December 21, 2018, however, Attorney-at-Law Nigel Hughes, husband of sitting Government Minister, Cathy Hughes, sought to question the motion’s validity even as the vote had already been certified.
He claimed that 34 votes were needed to validly pass the motion. Since then, the Government has held onto this explanation and moved to the court.
Last week, the Caribbean Court of Justice heard arguments on the matter and is expected to rule soon on the slew of cases filed.