CGID asks Guyana’s Coalition gov’t to reject no confidence vote

Dear Editor:

The Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID) reiterates to all Guyanese and the international community that the Dec. 21, 2018 no confidence vote against the APNU+AFC coalition government of Guyana was unconstitutional. The vote violated several provisions of extant law. The coalition government must embrace all aspects of the constitution as well as the will of the people as expressed in the 2015 elections. Consequently, we call on the government to reject the invocation of Article 106 (6) and (7) of the Guyana constitution by the Parliament of Guyana. This is why the vote was unconstitutional:

(i) AFC government Member of Parliament (MP) Charrandas Persaud who voted with the opposition PPP for the motion violated Article 156.3 (a) and (b) of the Guyana constitution. Article 156.3 (a) prohibits a Member of Parliament from voting against his or her party’s list or side of the House, unless he or she declare that intent in writing to the Speaker. Article 165.3 (b) Mandates that if a member declares an intent to vote against his own party list he or she ceases to be a member and must be immediately be expelled from Parliament. Charrandas Persaud failed to declare his intention to vote against his party’s list and for another list. His failures violated both Article 156.3 (a) and (b). His vote is therefore unlawful and should be vitiated. He must also be expelled by the speaker as prescribed in the law.

(ii)Charrandas Persaud violated Article 155. 1 (a) of the Guyana constitution. Article 155.1 states that “No person shall be qualified for election as a member of the National Assemble who: (a) “Is by virtue of his or own act, under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state.” Charrandas Persaud is a citizen of Canada, assumption on which he took an oath of allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II. He was therefore not qualified to be a member of parliament.

(iii) There is mounting evidence that Charrandas Persaud, opposition politicians and persons in the business community conspired to overthrow the democratically elected government of Guyana. The conspiracy involved using Charrandas Persaud’s no confidence vote to bring down the government. The opposition PPP allegedly engineered the payment of a multimillion dollar bribe to Persaud for his vote. When this information became public, he admitted the bribe, saying in a Facebook post, “So what if I was paid?” Bribing a member of parliament is a crime under the Laws of Guyana Criminal Offences Act Chapter 8:01. Sections 336 and 338. The Speaker or the courts will now have to make a determination about this alleged corrupt transaction. The Guyana Police Force has launched an investigation in this treasonous, bribery transaction.

CGID therefore resolutely rejects the notion that the will of the people of Guyana, expressed through the 2015 general elections, and a democratically elected government should be terminated on the basis of a criminal act and a vote that violated Article 155. 1 (a) and Article 156.3 (a) and (b) of the constitution. Moreover, there are serious questions about whether the confidence was passed by the legally required number of votes. “A corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit.”

CGID therefore calls on Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Barton Scotland, to nullify the no confidence vote, as Parliament cannot violate the constitution. CGID also calls on the people of Guyana to stand and rise up their voices in rejection of the attempt to overthrow their duly elected government.

Rickford Burke

President of the Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID)

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