Gov’t squandering opportunity for dialogue, moving forward – Jagdeo

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Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has said that the Government, after first committing to dialogue and holding general elections, has now taken a confrontational stance that could hinder productive talks between him and President David Granger.

The day after the vote, the President’s office acknowledged the “passing” of the vote and the President said he was “anxious” to meet Jagdeo and to work even more closely with the opposition.”

After a robust debate, 33 members voted in favour of a motion that the National Assembly has no confidence in the Government; 32 voted against. At the end of the vote, the Speaker, Dr Barton Scotland, declared that the motion had been “carried” or approved.

The Government is now challenging the vote, saying 34 votes constitute a majority and therefore the vote was not approved. It has written to the Speaker to ask him to review and reverse the decision. If that fails, the Government will move to the court.

Jagdeo said that the Government’s argument is “ludicrous” and has left him doubtful that talks with the President will yield any significant results.

“After the lofty words of the Prime Minister and President and commitment to engage on a way forward,” Jagdeo said the major partner in the Coalition Government has reverted to the “usual arsenals” of wild accusations and confrontation.

“I think the President has to bear responsibility,” Jagdeo said, noting that the President issued a statement acknowledging the passage of the vote and committing to doing “everything necessary to facilitate the smooth functioning” of election, his “minions” have now gone in a different direction.

“So, the President has to bear responsibility,” Jagdeo emphasised.

President Granger is expected back in Guyana this week.

Jagdeo said the opposition will not be attending Parliament unless it has to do with elections, such as approving more funds for the Guyana Elections Commission or possibly extending the date for elections.

Given the 90-day stipulation in the constitution for the holding of elections after the passage of a No Confidence motion, elections are due by March 19, 2019.

The Government must get the support of the opposition for any extension, as the Constitution stipulates there must be a 2/3 majority vote for extending the date.

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