Resolution of no-confidence motion will set a valuable precedent – Min. Gaskin

– conscience voting is allowed by parties, depending on the nature of the issue being debated

– “None of Guyana’s 65 “Elected” Members of Parliament are elected in their own right or represent their own constituencies”

– Article 106 (6) of the Constitution cannot be read in isolation of Article 106 (7)

DPI, Guyana, Monday, December 31, 2018

Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin, weighing in recently on the opposition-led ‘no-confidence’ motion, said:

“It is unlikely that the framers of our Constitution intended for it to be used by a minority opposition to remove a majority government by means of a one-off stealth vote.”

Minister Gaskin, in a Social Media post, reasoned that while conscience voting is allowed by parties, depending on the nature of the issue being debated, the Constitution, Article 156 (3) provides, with specificity, for a seat to be declared vacant by the Speaker of the National Assembly where a member no longer supports the list from which his/her name was extracted, or declares his/her support for another list, or is recalled by the Representative of the List from which his/her name was extracted.

The minister explained that in Guyana’s electoral system, political parties are represented by lists of candidates put up for election, while Members of Parliament (MPs) are drawn from those lists in proportion to the votes gained by each party.

“In other words, none of Guyana’s 65 “Elected” Members of Parliament are elected in their own right or represent their own constituencies,” he noted, while questioning, “should a member, therefore, be able to vote in a way that fundamentally defies the will of the electorate?”

He believes that they in which this matter is ultimately resolved can set a valuable precedent going forward, noting:

“I am therefore confused as to why some are so opposed to having the [Law] Courts interpret the Constitution as it applies to what took place so that we can all move forward with a clearer understanding of how our systems should work.”

Making reference to an earlier post, Minister Gaskin said Article 106 (6) of the Constitution cannot be read in isolation of Article 106 (7).

“I am now saying that neither should be read in isolation of a number of other Constitutional provisions that deal with the Parliament, the Executive and the electoral system,” he added.

The Speaker of the House, Dr. Barton Scotland is expected to make a ruling on the motion, which was debated on December 21, at the next sitting of the National Assembly slated for January 3, 2019.

The government has since stated that it will challenge the decision in the Court of Law if necessary.

Stacy Carmichael.

Image: Department of Public Information.

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