Proof of bribery for no-confidence vote could have serious implications – PM Nagamootoo

– “We accepted the ruling of the speaker, because as an Attorney-at-Law when a judge makes a ruling, you accept the ruling until you’re able to have that ruling withdrawn”

– Speaker of the House will also have to consider whether a simple 33 or 34 votes were needed for the motion to be carried

DPI, Guyana, Friday, December 28, 2018

Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo today said that Speaker of the National Assembly Dr. Barton Scotland will have to review allegations that the vote by former Member of Parliament, Charrandass Persaud last Friday was procured by unlawful means.

Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo.

Persaud, a former government MP voted in favour of the no-confidence motion brought against the administration by the parliamentary opposition. Several persons in the social domain have expressed their views that the former back-bencher might have taken a bribe, forcing the no-confidence vote to go through. Prime Minister Nagamootoo said Persaud is not even discounting “that he was bought.” He said, however, that this will have to be addressed.

“If a vote in the National Assembly was procured by unlawful means to overthrow a constitutionally elected government, that will have serious implications and the Speaker will have to address that issue. If you had a member of parliament who knew that he had lost confidence in his party or his slate, he should have indicated to the house that he no longer wanted to support his slate and he wanted to endorse another slate so that the house would know how to deal with that situation.” 

The Prime Minister explained that Speaker of the House will also have to consider whether a simple 33 or 34 votes were needed for the motion to be carried. He said there is an overwhelming view that the motion needed 34 votes to pass and that this was known to the opposition.

“They were privy to a legal opinion that says you needed 34. And so, they are in a quandary now how to deal with the situation because the Speaker had indicated at the last sitting that he will return on the 3rd of January to address the consequences of the votes, meaning, did it meet the threshold under the constitution for a majority?”

The Prime Minister said people are “coming to grips” with the reality that it is not a majority that is catered for in the standing orders, as the House regulates its own procedures. The majority, he said, is addressed in the constitution.

“So, the constitutional majority will have weigh, more significance on how does one arrive at a majority… The formula has been one half plus one. So, if you have 64 members of the parliament, your one half would be 32 and a majority would be 33. How then can you have 33 as a majority for 65, unless you can prove that 64 is equal to 65. So, you can see already that it is producing an absurd conclusion, and the constitution would have never contemplated the creation of an absurdity,” the PM said.  

To persons questioning the government’s decision to accept the ruling last Friday, the Prime Minister said the government made a decision to prevent disorder.

“We accepted the ruling of the speaker, because as an Attorney-at-Law when a judge makes a ruling, you accept the ruling until you’re able to have that ruling withdrawn, those are things a court would do if it found it had been in error,” he said.  

Alexis Rodney.

Image: Keno George.

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