THE name Charandass has ignominiously made its way into the Guyanese lexicon as being synonymous with treachery and betrayal. This development is directly linked to the fact that Guyanese know exactly what occurred in the Guyana Parliament on December 21, 2018. A large swathe of the populace, regardless of political persuasion, is convinced that what they witnessed was not a genuine case of unprecedented patriotism. They are not sold on the idea that this Parliamentarian acted based on principle and sought to exhibit Parliamentary heroism to save the Republic. If you argue these assertions are incorrect, the time has revealed some indicators that suggest the Guyanese masses are not asses.
THE NATURAL DEATH OF THE NO CONFIDENCE MOTION
There are certain signs that manifest in a society where the people no longer repose confidence in their government. These may include: massive street protests (not organised by political parties), civil disturbances, a general outcry from civil society and palpable manifestations some loss of hope that the government can manage the affairs of a state. The people of Hong Kong loss confidence in their government and two million people filled the streets. The people of Puerto Rico loss confidence in Governor Ricardo A. Rosello and he was forced to resign after the people filled the streets of San Juan. Such inescapable signs of the disaffection by the people have not been evident in Guyana. One protest movement organised by civil society had four persons. I make a clear distinction here between engineered and organised protests designed by political parties and unsolicited agitation by the citizenry which is the safest barometer to judge the mood of the people. No-confidence motions that are organic and proceed from the groundswell of true sentiments are supposed to be made of much more stern stuff. They ought not to be disconnected from the aspirations of the people. The lone Parliamentarian, Mr. Charandass Persaud, whose ‘yes’ to the no-confidence motion brought against coalition government in the Guyana Parliament on December 21st, represented the people of Berbice. After the successful passage no-confidence motion, the government conducted several outreaches in this constituency and there was no sign of an authentic expression of the lack of faith in the government. This is a disconnect between the purpose of a no-confidence motion and the will of the people that must not escape observation.
PARLIAMENTARY COUP D’ETAT
A motion of no-confidence or a confidence vote or confidence motion is a statement or vote that seeks to establish that the person/persons holding responsibility are no longer deemed fit to hold that position because they are failing to carry out their responsibilities. In the context of governance, confidence motions are constitutional or parliamentary mechanisms that serve as safeguards against a government that becomes an ‘out of wild tiger’, scratching and biting the population. The first documented case of no-confidence occurred in March 1782 during the American Revolution when the British Parliament declared that they no longer repose confidence in the present ministers. Confidence motions have not been documented in history as paths to accessing power and seizing government, this has always been in the remit of coup d’etats and other forms of extra-legal maneuvers. However, it is not unreasonable to suggest that Guyana may have placed interesting content in the academic domain of studies in government on December 21, 2018. The series of events suggest that a new phrase can be accorded to this development. If it pleases the readers, a parliamentary coup d’etat best describes what the government of Guyana faced on December 21. The evidence suggests that this was a grab for power under the refuge of a constitutional provision fraught with financial subterfuge. Be that as it may, this has not escaped the attention of the Guyanese people. The fact that civil society organisations have refused to be part of an engineered political charade in the streets, it means Guyanese know exactly what occurred on December 21, 2018.
Men dressed in red have paraded the streets, straining their vocal cords, they have yelled with veins in their neck strained: ‘Dictatorship’, ‘Violation of the constitution’. There has been no response to this. These cries ring hollow to a wise population. Added to this, two credible polls have been commissioned since December. Anecdotally speaking, none has revealed any inkling of a disaffected population. For this reason and those mentioned above, Guyana undoubtedly has a wise population.
It is evident, based on the complete lack of buy-in to the arguments of the political opposition that the constitutional skies are falling, Guyanese know exactly what happened in the Guyana Parliament on December 21, 2018.