Profound sense of desperation

first_imgGuyana is classified as a democracy, a status that was returned in 1992 following almost three decades of struggles during which many were incarcerated and some tragically paying the ultimate price for freedom of choice. None would have been under any illusion that its safeguarding would be easy.Events since vindicate how it was rigorously tested. Some now opine that it has reached a stage of being under threat. What followed the historic No-confidence Motion, fears of the nation’s democracy being severely endangered may have heightened, ironically by a democratic act of exercising free will.It is now common knowledge that a Member of Parliament of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Charrandas Persaud, voted of his own volition to support the No-confidence Motion brought against the Government he is part of by the Opposition People’s Progressive Party. The configuration in Parliament is 33 Government representatives and 32 for the Opposition. It was therefore elementary that the motion would not succeed unless a Government representative supports it.That is what Charrandas did and the motion was carried. That is how a democracy works as in the United States, where Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate vote across party lines on issues they believe in. It is a common occurrence there and in other developed countries underscoring the basic principle that while some may disagree over how someone votes, that person has a fundamental right to do so. That is the foundation of any democratic society.Here, Charrandas is being publicly vilified and reportedly threatened by those in support of the Government. The very next day the State newspaper called him a Judas. Government and its supporters are adamant that he should not have voted the way he did, thereby betraying them in the process. He was swiftly expelled from the AFC and will also be removed from Parliament through the recall legislation.With the unrelenting attack on Charrandas, it is clear, at least from the Government perspective, he did not have a right to vote the way he did. They even argued in public that it was not a conscience vote but one entrenched in a political mindset. That is a stark contradiction of the Government’s boast of upholding democratic principles since coming to office.If the Government were to believe its own utterances, then an expected action in the wake of assault on Charrandas would be for it to openly and forthrightly condemn those attacks and the actions of the State newspaper in the interest of safeguarding our democracy. The noticeable absence of a condemnation thus far, would only serve to confirm the belief that our freedom of choice is being battered with a signal of it possibly becoming expunged.The situation also exposes the duplicitous act of convenient democracy by the Government; showing support is democratic while dissent is an act of betrayal. This is now beyond the agreement to disagree at that level. While it’s expected that the Government and its supporters will feel disappointed, mature leadership would demand that Charrandas’s choice be respected since his action constitutes a basic tenet of democracy.Similarly, the Government has an obligation to adhere to the Constitution and the process related to the successful passage of the No-confidence Motion. From what has been reported, it appears that the Clerk of the National Assembly has or is in the process of formalising that the motion was successfully and legally carried. Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, to his credit on the said night the motion was passed, said the Government has to accept the vote. The Guyana Bar Association is the latest of many organisations to make known similar sentiments.That brings into question, the preposterous pronouncement by a leading attorney and who was an executive of the AFC, now claiming that the result of the motion is illegal. His mathematical argument that 33 out of 65 is not a majority is not only illogical and laughable but bewildering to students.Here again is another example of convenience, this time convenience of objection. He never made the same mathematical argument when the Government held a one-seat parliamentary majority while in Opposition and used the said 33-22 to cut the budget and scuttle funding for transformation projects under the Donald Ramotar Administration. The Amaila Falls Hydro Project and the Specialty Hospital readily come to mind and which by now would have been completed bringing much needed relief to Guyanese.Whatever reason of self-interest may be driving such baseless mathematical principles, again the Government has an obligation to follow the Constitution and, more so, to debunk such attempts to clutch at straws not only in the interest on democracy, but for the upholding of the law and social cohesion, again, ironically, the Ministry of which it established.Up to this point, instead of reiterating that the motion has been carried, the Government appointed a sub-committee to consider the argument that 33 is not the majority. That suggests that the Government is looking for solace any way it can. In doing so, it is demonstrating a profound sense of desperation in mathematical principles that have been conveniently distorted.last_img

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