Disarray, absence of synergy and rambling were some of the words used by three government ministers to describe the no-confidence motions brought by Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon against Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony and Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn on Tuesday.
Appearing on a National Communications Network (NCN) programme on Wednesday night, Labour Minister, Joseph Hamilton; Tourism Minister, Oneidge Walrond; and Minister with the Ministry of Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues noted the motions brought by Harmon and assured him that his losing streak as Opposition Leader will be further extended.
Prior to the confidence motions, two elections petitions brought by Harmon to remove the duly-elected Dr Irfaan Ali Government from office have been thrown out by the court; the Coalition has filed an appeal in relation to one of the thrown-out petitions, and has indicated its intention of appealing the other.
Before the petition cases, all the cases brought by the Coalition Government to undermine the legitimate declarations of votes cast in the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections were also thrown out by the courts.
Like the results of these cases mentioned, Minister Walrond said the two motions calling for the resignation of Ministers Anthony and Benn will be thrown out by the National Assembly.
A Member of Parliament can only be removed through the Recall Legislation, and the removal happens if a parliamentarian dies, becomes incapacitated, mentally unstable or the party loses confidence in the member. Through this legislation, the leader of the List of Candidates can remove a member but only following meaningful consultation with his party.
This means that Ministers Anthony and Benn, who were appointed by President Ali, could only be removed by President Ali and not by a no-confidence motion by the Opposition, even if there is a majority vote against them. The government is expected to table a no-confidence motion to throw out Harmon as Opposition Leader for undermining democracy through consistent misinformation from him on crime, COVID-19 and other matters. Under Harmon’s leadership, several well-known leaders of the People’s National Congress (PNC) have resigned, with all of them citing the leadership of the party as the cause for their resignation.
Harmon had also called for a suspension of the Sputnik V vaccines, claiming a host of irregularities, none of which have been proven. Harmon had taken the Sputnik V vaccine before calling for its suspension. His claims drew criticisms from various sections of society with many describing his suspension call as preposterous.
Minister Walrond, on Wednesday night, contended that the claims by Harmon are as difficult to comprehend as the positions of the APNU+AFC Coalition, which she noted has shown visible signs of disunity, lack of synergy and great disorganisation.
A case in point, she noted, is former Coalition minister getting vaccinated then making a video encouraging persons to get vaccinated but yet signing off on a motion that seeks the resignation of the Health Minister in relation to the vaccination campaign.
She contended that the government must be commended since very early in its tenure it made efforts to secure vaccines from a variety of sources to ensure as many Guyanese as possible get vaccinated. These efforts, she said, have paid dividends as a significant number of persons have been vaccinated and Guyana has been able to avert a situation like what is occurring in neighbouring Brazil, where thousands have died from the virus.
Today, Guyana is among the leading nations in the vaccination drive in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Walrond used the opportunity to encourage the citizenry, particularly the people in Linden where there has been a hesitancy in taking the vaccine, to get vaccinated and protect themselves, their families and friends from the virus, which has now mutated into several strains.
Minister Rodrigues, in supporting the views expressed by Minister Walrond, contended that health and security are national issues and should not be used as a political football by Harmon and Coalition leaders to score political points as she deemed the motions by the Opposition Leader a non-starter.
Both the health and security sectors, she said, were in crisis when the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) assumed government 10 months ago. Minister Hamilton, for his part, said the two-lined confidence motions by Harmon should not be taken seriously because the members of the Coalition hardly take their role in Parliament seriously.