There are reports that earlier this week, a No-Confidence Motion (NCM) was called against the Chief Constable of the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) of Georgetown. Information pertaining to the result of that vote indicates that nineteen of the thirty elected members of the Council who voted in favour are from A Partnership for National Unity (APNU)— the dominant partner of the ruling coalition— and, in reality, the actual government. It won twenty-one out of those thirty seats at the most recent Local Government Elections (LGE).
Reportedly, there was a lack of confidence in Chief Constable’s performance. He was accused by that grouping of displaying a lacklustre and a general incompetent attitude towards his job. The purpose of the NCM was therefore to have him removed. That objective was reportedly met. This is extremely significant in the context of the ongoing political situation which was triggered by a successful NCM in December 2018.
The APNU-led APNU/AFC coalition continues to disregard all constitutional processes that the successful NCM mandated and it has defied all rulings and consequential orders of the judicial system to abide and respect the Constitution. Officials of that party, and who also hold senior positions in Government, have been adamant that the December 2018 NCM was not valid despite the ruling of the speaker and the courts. They even boldly proclaimed that the Government cannot be removed by a NCM and that the final court has no jurisdiction here.
One very senior official reportedly vehemently postulated that the Government must be allowed to rule for its full term and that NCM must not be an option in the Constitution. This is despite the fact that when in the Opposition, it was in the process of tabling a NCM against the then People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) government.
The reality of the APNU/AFC government’s continual refusal to abide by the Constitution is that elections mandated within ninety days of the successful passage of the NCM, are still to be held six months and counting after the deadline expired in March this year.
From all indications, through a perceived lack of urgency by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) — which allegedly takes its cue from the APNU/AFC government— a timeline for these overdue elections is no closer to being announced. Just recently, GECOM’s Secretariat presented to the Commission a timeline for March 2020. That would make it one year after the NCM was passed; nine months in excess of what the Constitution demands.
That smacks of delaying tactics and it seems indisputable that the Government remains relentless in its efforts to institute same to avoid elections. Over the past six months, it presented the most frivolous excuses to have the Parliamentary-approved NCM overturned. Many Guyanese remain convinced that in the process, the Government made a mockery of the judicial process and harmed the country’s reputation of being able to offer quality legal representation.
Millions of taxpayers’ money was unnecessarily spent to avoid what the nation’s Constitution has enshrined with regard to a successful NCM. In other words, the Government, through its actions since December 2018, leaves no ambiguity over its position on the NCM. It seems convinced it was unnecessary, invalid and operates as if it never happened.
From that, one can safely conclude that the APNU/AFC coalition does not see an NCM as a constitutional and democratic mechanism to hold the Government accountable and to effect fresh elections. As a matter of fact, through its said actions, it appears not to see a NCM as valid for anything, including removing an officer accused of incompetence from his/her position.
The successful passage of the NCM at the M&CC is another instance that exposes the unbridled and incessant duplicitousness on the part of the APNU/AFC coalition government. It was tabled and seconded by councillors representing APNU, which holds the majority. It should be noted that two of its councillors abstained from casting a vote.
That aside, one can seemingly safely assume that NCM within the Municipality could not have been realised without being sanctioned by APNU’s hierarchy, which the President heads. Ironically, over the past nine months, he has repeatedly said his government will uphold the law. With every passing day, that particular statement appears more and more deceptive as the election timeline drags on.
The mindboggling question is: how could representatives of the ruling party resort to the use of a NCM to remove someone when that said party does not abide by the results of one passed by the highest decision-making body in the country?
Is it a case of mere convenience to foster its own agenda? Is it a case of blatantly taking the rest of Guyana and Guyanese for granted? Many who have become wary of the Government’s continual defiance of the Constitution will, no doubt, answer in the affirmative. A casual analysis of the current political situation will make it impossible not to believe they are right.