On Friday, a delegation of top officials from the Caribbean Community (Caricom) met with Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo and other members of the parliamentary Opposition and President David Granger.
Heading the delegation at Jagdeo’s Church Street office was Caricom Secretary General Irwin LaRocque, along with Chairman of Caricom and St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris.
They met with Jagdeo, who was accompanied by the Party’s presidential candidate Irfaan Ali, Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira and parliamentarian Juan Edghill. According to a statement from the Opposition Leader’s office, discussions at the meeting centred on the no-confidence resolution against the coalition Government.
Meanwhile, the Caricom team also met President David Granger, on Friday, paying him a courtesy call at State House. The President was accompanied by Minister of State Joseph Harmon, who is also performing the functions of Foreign Affairs Minister and Guyana’s Ambassador to Caricom, Charlene Phoenix.
On December 21, 2018, the no-confidence motion brought by the People’s Progressive Party (PPP/C) against the Government succeeded when former Alliance For Change (AFC) Parliamentarian 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. 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.”
Meanwhile, clause 7 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.”
Since the passage of the motion, however, persons aligned with the coalition party have sought to question the motion’s validity even as the vote has already been certified. These arguments formed part of the opinions presented to Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland, in the hopes that he would reverse the ruling. He refused to do so.
Amid calls to resign, Government has insisted it is going nowhere until elections are held. Several court cases were filed, in which an order was sought to, among other things, delay the elections until the court rules on the matter.
That and other related cases came up for Hearing last Tuesday, but acting Chief Justice Roxane George committed to a ruling by the end of this month, while noting that such an order would be unnecessary.