Faced with a possible no confidence motion by the Alliance For Change and its passage by the Joint Opposition, President Donald Ramotar on Friday evening responded to a letter he received from Alliance For Change Leader Khemraj Ramjattan on the AFC’s decision to move ahead with a no confidence motion in the government.
The President in his response said the AFC was within its constitutional right to take the no confidence motion to the National Assembly but warned the AFC Leader that “the pretext that you have chosen to ground your motion is completely baseless and spurious.”
Ramjattan in his letter to the President had complained about “the unauthorized and unconstitutional withdrawals made from our nation’s Consolidated Fund by the Minister of Finance”, adding that it was the belief of the AFC that “such withdrawals as reported in Financial Paper #1 of 2014 are in clear contravention of Article 217 of the Constitution of the Republic of Guyana and Section 16 of the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act”.
President Ramotar disagrees and pointed out in his return mail that the actions taken by the government “are expressly authorised and permitted by both the letter and spirit of the constitution. Indeed, you yourself participated in this identical process in the years 2012 and 2013 by supporting Financial Papers 1 of 2012 and 1 of 2013.”
According to the President, Article 218 (3) is unambiguous in allowing for expenditure to be incurred in the absence, or in excess of available appropriations as approved in the extant Appropriations Act.
Once the AFC’s no confidence motion is passed by the National Assembly, it will force snap elections. President Ramotar believes his People’s Progressive Party is ready for any such move. He said it is the Alliance For Change which will have a whole lot more explaining to do.
Sounding off as if it was a political campaign speech, the President told Ramjattan that early elections “will give us the opportunity to demand that the AFC explains to the Guyanese people their denial of them having cheap energy by opposing the Hydro Power Station at Amaila”.
“You will have a chance to explain why you have voted against giving the Guyanese people better health care due to your opposition to a specialty hospital. Moreover, you will clarify for the electorate whether it was because your client lost out in the bidding process to construct the complex”, the President said.
Mr. Ramotar also believes that the AFC will be forced to explain to the electorate its decision to oppose the Marriott hotel deal although the Government has moved ahead with its support for that project without the Opposition’s support.
He cautioned Ramjattan that “you will explain why you opposed the Anti Money Laundering Bill thereby exposing our country to international sanctions and our people to economic and financial hardships.” The President listed several other explanations that he would like to see the AFC offer once the elections are called.
The AFC has explained in the past that the Government needs to be more accountable to the people of Guyana for its financial spending.
The combined Opposition parties, APNU and AFC, hold the majority in the National Assembly. Both parties have been pressing the Donald Ramotar administration to change the way the Government does business on behalf of the people of the country. The Opposition led National Assembly and the Office of the President have found themselves butting heads on many occasions as the President has refused to sign into law a number of Bills that have been passed by the National Assembly.
Just after he took office in 2011 to lead a “minority government”, Mr. Ramotar declared that he would not be signing any bill into law that did not receive the support of his government in the National Assembly, although his government finds itself on the minority side.