‘Tit-for-tat politics’ – Jonas says of No-Confidence motions

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Chairman of A New and United Guyana (ANUG), Timothy Jonas, doubts the success of the three No-Confidence motions currently pending in the National Assembly; one filed by the government against the Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon, and two filed by Harmon against the Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony and the Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn.

Jonas believes that even if the motions give rise to a Parliamentary debate on the performance of these individuals, it will certainly not see their removal from office.

Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon

He dismissed the motions, which are currently pending the approval of Speaker of the National Assembly, Manzoor Nadir, as “tit-for-tat politics.”

Speaking to the two opposition sponsored motions, Jonas said, “The no-confidence motion is politics. That’s all it is. It is a spin. You have the power to present this motion so you present it and you come armed with your 31 seats and your 31 votes.”

Jonas, who was speaking during an exclusive interview with the News Room on Friday last, said that he doubts the APNU+AFC opposition, which holds a minority in the National Assembly, would get the support of any of the government Members of Parliament (MPs) to get the motions passed.

Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony

“When you look in Parliament, the centralisation of power also exists…I don’t think there will be anybody crossing the floor in this Parliament…everyone knows long in advance what will happen.”

Harmon’s motions were filed days before the government presented their motion against him.

“The purpose of a no-confidence is to remove someone, to remove a government…I don’t understand the rationale for what the government has done.”

Addressing the merit of the government’s motion against Harmon, Jonas contended that Harmon and the APNU+AFC must end its rhetoric that the Coalition won the March 2020 elections and the government is illegitimate.

“I am seeing that there is a continuation of the ridiculous story that [the APNU+AFC] was robbed in these [March 2020] elections…we should have kept ‘those foreigners out’ so we can conduct these elections on our own…comments by leaders that the PPP voters are mentally lazy.

Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn

“It’s difficult to reach out in a meaningful way and embrace people who have not yet seen the harm being done,” Jonas reasoned.

He believes the APNU+AFC must look for a solution, one that includes the governing People’s Progressive Party and vice versa.

Speaker Nadir has since written for legal advice on the three motions and is expected to make a decision in the new week whether it will be placed on the Order Paper for a debate.

That debate, Jonas says, will only be an exercise that panders to party loyalists.

While Harmon’s motions have called into question the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and crime in the country, Jonas gave the government kudos for its vaccine programme, describing it as “remarkable.”

“… it was one of the successes I saw in the conduct of the PPP doing meaningful work,” he added.

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