The no-confidence motion filed by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo last month against the coalition Government is expected to come up for debate next week.
According to Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira, they have been hearing of this all day Thursday and were not officially informed by the National Assembly.
“But I asked the [Government] Chief Whip [Amna Ally] and she said ‘yes it is December 21’,” Teixeira told uyana Times.
Jagdeo had first announced the no-confidence motion on the heels of devastating losses in the Local Government Elections (LGE) for the coalition Government and went ahead to file the motion with the National Assembly on November 15, 2018.
The Opposition was expecting that the motion would be heard and debated before
the presentation of the 2019 Budget, which was done almost two weeks later on November 26, 2018.
The Party had contended that November 26 was already scheduled to be private members day, where their matters take precedence. However, the reading of the National Budget has taken over that day; with the result that another private members day must be scheduled.
However, as the Opposition was preparing to deal with the motion at the next sitting of the National Assembly – prior to the Budget presentation – that session was abruptly cancelled at Government’s request and the PPP MPs turned up to an empty chamber.
Jagdeo had explained that the convention is that once a no-confidence motion is filed, it takes precedence over other issues. The Opposition Leader pointed to standard practice in democracies around the world, where no confidence motions are given priority. A poignant example of this is in Sri Lanka, where multiple no confidence votes have been held against Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.
“If a no-confidence motion is filed in the Government, you can’t proceed to a budget debate while that is hanging. What if it succeeds?” he had questioned.
However, Clerk of the National Assembly Sherlock Isaacs, had written the Opposition, informing them that their motion will not be heard before the 2019
Budget is dealt with by the House. The 2019 Budget is expected to wrap up today when the consideration of estimates for the various Budget agencies concludes.
The PPP had contended the motion was lodged based on concrete reasons upon which the Guyanese people had rejected the People’s National Congress-led coalition. It pointed to the thousands of jobs that have been lost as a result of the closure of Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) estates.
In addition, the Party referred to the various scandals that have erupted under the Administration. They include the single sourcing of the feasibility contract for the new Demerara River crossing, the single sourcing of a drug bond and the single sourcing of drug procurement contracts.
The Party further noted the numerous breaches of fiscal laws flagged by the Audit Office of Guyana in its reports, as well as the lack of accountability in the D’Urban Park project; something even the Auditor General had to launch a special probe into.
The depletion of Guyana’s gold and foreign reserves was also highlighted. In fact, a report from the Central Bank earlier this year had indicated that Guyana’s net foreign reserves, held by the Bank in foreign currency notes; has fallen to its lowest point since 2008.
Tax collection has increased dramatically; a point alluded to by the Party. <<<<Guyana Times>>>> had reported findings from the recently released 2017 Auditor General report, which had showed that the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) collected more taxes than was even anticipated.
In the End of Year Budget and Reconciliation Report, it noted that the projected revenue for 2017 was $186 billion. Instead, Government actually collected $195 billion in current revenue. This includes duties, levy, personal income and withholding taxes.
Court settlements since the coalition Government took office were also zeroed in on by the Party. The Attorney General’s Chambers has come under much criticism for not being able to secure success for several cases against the State.
Since taking office, in addition to losing cases, Government has opted to enter into out-of-court settlements. These settlements included sums to the tune of US$5.7 million; $226 million and $3.8 billion.