— but they were wrong, never Jaipaul Sharma
JUNIOR Minister of Finance and lone representative of the Justice For All (JFA) Party in the APNU+AFC government, Jaipaul Sharma, said the opposition’s no- confidence motion that was passed in the House on Friday was “strategic.”
The parliamentary opposition, the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) has 32 seats in the National Assembly, while the APNU + AFC government has 33 seats, which gives them a majority in the House.
To successfully pass a no-confidence motion, the opposition required a vote from the government benches.
During the budget debate a few weeks ago, Sharma was singled out as the government parliamentarian who would support the opposition’s no-confidence motion.
““I stood in Parliament and I said then I would never support a no-confidence [motion] in this government,” he reminded. On Friday, another government Member of Parliament (MP), Charrandas Persaud voted in support of the motion.
Sharma said the opposition was very strategic in their approach of introducing the motion and subsequently fingering him to support them, so as to remove suspicion from Charrandas.
Charrandas, an AFC MP, represents Region Six. His vote on Friday night, however, was not the first time he offered different views from those of his party.
In 2013, it was reported that he left the AFC after feeling sidelined by the party. However, he was present at a press conference organised by the AFC some two months later and claimed that he had never tendered his resignation.
According to Sharma, the government could have taken measures to unearth who might be a potential ‘crossover’ vote during the budget presentations.
According to him, each presenter during the budget presentations should have been tasked with highlighting their disapproval of the motion since then. This would have allowed the government to know when exactly the government MP decided to support the opposition’s motion.
“If the opposition has decided to call a division when the budget was being passed and [Charrandas] had said no, then the government would’ve fallen then. So why extend that?” he questioned.
“I think they had him in their corner since then,” Sharma said.