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Guyana gov’t to examine legal opinions on no-confidence vote

By News Room

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(NEWS ROOM) — Following Friday’s historic passage of the no-confidence motion against the coalition government, President David Granger has since established a sub-committee to “advise on the matter.”

The head of State on Monday convened special meetings of the Cabinet and the National Security Committee (NSC) where they “examined all of the legal and constitutional aspects of the vote in the National Assembly on Friday, December 21st…” a statement from the coalition government noted on Monday evening.

“The Sub-Committee will examine all the legal opinions available and report to Cabinet on Thursday, December 27th with recommendations on the way forward.”

The government decided on the sub-committee three days after its Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo accepted defeat in the National Assembly when one of the government’s own Parliamentarian, Charrandass Persaud, voted with the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) in favour of the motion.

The vote was 33-32.

President Granger, in a statement the day after the defeat, also accepted the speaker’s ruling and said the government will abide by the constitution.

However, prominent attorney-at-law and former chairman of the AFC, Nigel Hughes, created quite a stir Sunday night when he put forward the argument that the opposition needed more than one vote from the government side for the motion to succeed.

Hughes is arguing that majority means 34 out of 65 seats in the National Assembly.

However, he said the principle only applies to a vote of confidence. On Monday, he told the media that the government can approach the speaker to have the process reviewed.

Asked why this was not said before, Hughes noted that he will not offer advice for free.

The constitution provides for a vote of no-confidence to pass against the government if there is a majority vote, but the constitution does not define ‘majority’.

This was argued by PPP parliamentarian and former Attorney Anil Nandlall who said that Hughes’ legal opinion is not new since the law does not define majority, therefore the usual 33-32 voting process should be adhered to for passage of any motion.

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