Very soon, Guyanese are expected to be heading to the polls to vote for a political party that will form the Government that they believe will push for the kind of development they wish to see. Citizens will also make their decision on the basis on which political party will more than likely follow the necessary principles and practices in keeping with transparent and accountable governance.
But, of course, we all know by now that holding elections in such a time is dependent on whether the Coalition Government would abide, not only with the provisions in the Constitution following its defeat in the recent no-confidence vote, but also with the ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice. Already two ministers of Government are parading the idea that Guyana is a sovereign and independent state and the CCJ cannot impose elections.
It was stated before, and we repeat for emphasis sake: The Constitution is clear as to the actions that must be followed after a no-confidence vote. Article 106 (6) of the Constitution states, “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.”
With the Government’s defeat, the next steps in 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.”
The Government had initially accepted the motion, now turned resolution, but subsequently shifted its position. The President and the Leader of the Opposition are expected to meet soon for dialogue and to determine the way forward, taking into consideration that the APNU/AFC Administration has lost the confidence of the majority of the people’s representatives in Parliament.
The APNU/AFC Government had stated on numerous occasions before that it is proud of its accomplishments over the past three years. It had provided a long list of ‘achievements’, and boasted about not being afraid to face the electorate again. However, based on its recent actions, it is clear that the Coalition Government is using all avenues to buy time.
One would think that if the Government is confident that it has performed creditably since it took the reins of political power, it would be anxious to go to the polls. Any Government that is confident of the way it has performed would call elections to get a renewed mandate from the electorate; more so considering the fact that one of its own members has expressed a loss of confidence in the way the administration governs.
That said, once a date is set for national elections, the nation could expect fierce competition between the political parties, as the stakes are high, considering oil is expected to start flowing in 2020. Given the many concerns being raised with respect to the management of the oil sector, the new Government would be expected to take urgent measures to ensure that the revenues which accrue from the sector would not be squandered, but would be used towards building human and institutional capacity, addressing our poor infrastructure, and providing economic security for future generations.
Considering the events that have unfolded over the past months, we believe it is in the nation’s best interest if the country were to proceed with new elections, and allow citizens to elect a Government of their choice.