Speaker’s decision and Guyana’s democracy

first_imgAs Guyana continues to face an unprecedented political situation, Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland upheld the Constitution of Guyana when he refused Government’s request for him to reverse the passage of the No-confidence Motion, which is now a resolution.While Government, in its bid to retain power, has entered uncharted territory with an incredible stretch to the interpretation of Article 106 (6) of the Constitution, Speaker Scotland made it pellucid that while he has the authority to revisit, review and/or reverse any of his previous ruling, his powers are guided by the supreme law of the land – the Constitution of Guyana. He acted in conformity with the Constitution and discarded the Government’s request.According to Article 106 (6) of the Constitution, “The Cabinet, including the President, shall resign if the Government is defeated by the vote of a majority of all the elected members in the National Assembly on a vote of confidence.” Article 106 (7) states that, “Notwithstanding its defeat, the Government shall remain in office and shall hold an election within three months, or such longer period as the National Assembly shall by resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of the votes of all the elected members of the National Assembly determine and shall resign after the President takes the oath of office following the election.”The ongoing self-created confusion about Article 106 by the Government has been the topic on the lips of not only top legal minds but ordinary Guyanese, especially given the fact that after the Speaker declared that the motion was carried on December 21, 2018, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo conceded to its passage and stated that the Government will accept the consequences, including elections within the constitutionally stipulated 90-day period. Subsequent to his concurrence, President David Granger also accepted the verdict, which he pointed out in his New Year’s message to the nation. While the Prime Minister has now backtracked from his acceptance of defeat in his bid to retain power, and the Attorney General has announced that they are moving to challenge the decision in the court, one still hopes that the President will accept the original decision and work out a modus vivendi with the Opposition at their scheduled meeting.Already on the ground tension is high over the matter as uncertainly of when the constitutionally mandated elections will be called.Latin America research professor with the US Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, Evan Ellis in an article published by Global Americans on the peculiar situation Guyana is in, urged policymakers in Washington to help Guyana to avoid a descent into ethnic violence and chaos.He pointed out that US Government must begin by demonstrating a sincere commitment to all of the people of the country, whether of Indian, African, or other ethnic origins. It should work through the Caribbean Community (Caricom), through the Organisation of American States (OAS), and bilaterally as well, to support the realisation and monitoring of free and fair national elections in the country.According to Professor Ellis, the US must make clear that it expects whoever is in power in Guyana in 2019 to respect the democratic practices defined by its own Constitution.“Particularly important is extending protection and equal treatment under the law to all of its citizens, honouring the nation’s legal commitments to commercial partners and investors, and continuing to fulfill the nation’s responsibilities to international institutions, including continued cooperation in the struggle against illicit finance, narcotics operations and other organised crime,” Professor Ellis stated.Guyana is entering a particularly difficult period and now that the Government might decide not to heed the urging by legal luminaries to call elections but rather to move to the Judiciary in its bid to retain power, it is time that the international community assist in the upholding of Guyana’s democracy. As it stands Guyana’s democracy is at the crossroads.last_img read more

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Davis, Brulte show students how budget is (un)balanced

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2And after they voted on various policy issues he told them: “I’m very impressed with the choices you made and I’m going to recommend that we disband Parliament, tell the governor to make movies and give all the power to North Hollywood High. “You were more responsible actually than were in Sacramento.” The interactive program, created a year ago by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Next Ten organization, is aimed at promoting “participatory democracy,” founder F. Noel Perry said. The idea is to empower the people by engaging them in politics in order to improve the future economy and quality of life in California, Perry said. “There’s a limited amount of money and tough choices to be made, and our goal is to get as many Californians as possible involved in understanding and thinking about the choices, so they can be participants in shaping the vision and future of the state of California,” Perry said. NORTH HOLLYWOOD – If it was up to North Hollywood High’s AP Government students to draft the state budget, they’d increase education spending by $2.5 billion, keep college tuition at current levels, retain the “three strikes” law and add $2.60 a pack to the cigarette tax. They’d also leave the state with a $2 billion deficit. As the Legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger grapple with the real budget, North Hollywood High’s students took a crack Monday at creating their own financial plan in an interactive forum with former Gov. Gray Davis and former Senate Republican leader Jim Brulte. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you made better choices here than we made in Sacramento,” Davis cracked before the students voted. And putting students in a position of control – albeit an imaginary one – did seem to empower them and encourage them to participate in civic life. “I was really surprised at the fact that issues we dealt with voting in the class are issues people in Sacramento are dealing with – that people don’t vote there,” 17-year-old senior Carlos De Santiago said, referring to the fact that not all 35 students voted on every issue. The absence of full participation prompted Brulte to say it was just like Sacramento where “some legislators just refuse to make a call.” “It makes you want to voice your opinion because not a lot of people are doing that right now,” De Santiago said. Brulte was encouraged to see that many of the votes were close. “Like the Legislature itself, the class was divided on most of the choices and that reflects serious thought,” he said. Davis, who was recalled as governor in 2003, now practices law at the Los Angeles firm Loeb & Loeb, but remains active in educating students about public policy, even taking part in a lecture series at UCLA with Brulte. Davis even made a crack about his controversial decision to reinstate the Vehicle License Fee – a move that contributed to his political downfall. “Don’t take back something you’ve given to people,” he said. “Once you’ve given it to them go on to the next issue.” Davis said the current Legislature has faced some challenges in passing this year’s budget. “Proposing a budget is not unlike going to an all-you-can-eat buffet. Everything looks great, but if you eat all of it you will die. “It requires choices and discipline and the students exhibited both,” Davis said. [email protected] (818) 713-3722160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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