…on AG’s Pyrrhic victory
After three and a half years of obdurately taking the Government’s side in matters large and small, the Speaker suddenly developed a pair during the No-confidence Motion moved by the PPP. Asked by PNC Chair Volda Lawrence – upon coaching from the previous Speaker and AFC leader Raphael Trotman – for a “timeout” after Charrandas Persaud’s blow to the PNC’s collective solar plexus, the Speaker asked her tartly whether she thought she was in a game!!
He went on to have Persaud repeat his choice and when it was the same “yes”, he promptly halted the vote and declared the No-confidence Motion carried! That he stopped after the FIRST of the 33 Government MPs voted with the 32 Opposition MPs meant in his judgement, the resultant 33 “yesses” constituted the required “majority” to win the day. The Government at first accepted the verdict but threw a concocted lifeline by Nigel Hughes, husband of Government Minister Cathy Hughes and former AFC Chairman, soon started bleating that the “33 seat majority” which secured them the Government wasn’t a “majority” to end their tenure!! 34 was the required majority in a 65-seat house!!
It didn’t matter that supposing Persaud hadn’t switched his vote they would’ve gloated they’d won by a “majority” of 33!! After all, PNC/APNU Chief Whip Amna Ally – who’s supposed to count noses before any votes – demanded the PPP “bring it on!!” since she had a “sure thing” 33-seat majority!! But it’s truly said a drowning man will clutch at a straw…and clutch the PNC did, even though a 34 majority requirement would vitiate a slew of legislation they passed since 2015!!
As the days went by, another lifeline was invoked – this time that Persaud, who held dual Guyanese-Canadian citizenship, was disqualified because he’d sworn loyalty to a foreign power!! But as one of the Attorney General’s “old head” legal advisors just revealed, this would mean that 12 more Government MP’s weren’t qualified to vote!! Once again, the lifeline raises the conundrum of the status of all the laws passed since 2015!!
So, like the monkey who’ll jump on any limb that presents itself, regardless of the consequences, the PNC asked the Speaker to reverse his ruling based on the aforementioned two objections. In a Solomonic ruling at the first sitting of the National Assembly – which the Opposition PPP boycotted – the Speaker conceded that while he had the power to reverse himself, the points raised by the PNC were better suited to be answered by the courts. It was a matter of constitutional interpretation and not the rules of the Assembly.
But the President’s invitation to the Opposition for talks, gives hope he’ll work out a modus vivendi.
Well…well…well. It could be the AFC worm did try to turn against the PNC after the Cummingsburg trampling. In the wake of the AFC throwing everything, including the kitchen sink, against Charrandas Persaud (to prove THEIR loyalty!), the latter has responded by releasing an email from AFC leader Raphael Trotman. It seeks to buttress Persaud’s point that he voted for the No-confidence Motion because the AFC was being treated like a doormat by the PNC.
The email was evidently sent to AFC MPs –including Charrandas, of course – and listed a host of demands including “a clear and time bound pathway to constitutional reforms”. It concluded: “… unless we get these items, we should not support the budget.” Now of course, this never got anywhere! Lacking any teeth, much less a backbone, the AFC couldn’t do a darn thing but try even more strenuously to bend over backwards!!
The calamity of their decision is difficult to convey without resorting to sodomitic imagery! Ouch!!