An Important No Confidence Vote in Guyana

The PPP’s non-confidence motion against the APNU and AFC coalition government for corruption and mismanagement is no piddling matter. The motion has captivated the nation. Guyanese are eagerly waiting to see what will happen in Parliament on December 21. The stakes are high and the most pivotal is a battle of survival for the coalition government for a full five year term. The odds are stacked against the coalition when compared to the PPP.

 An Important No Confidence Vote in Guyana
photo : Lomarsh Roopnarine

The PPP’s non-confidence motion against the APNU and AFC coalition government for corruption and mismanagement is no piddling matter. The motion has captivated the nation. Guyanese are eagerly waiting to see what will happen in Parliament on December 21. The stakes are high and the most pivotal is a battle of survival for the coalition government for a full five year term. The odds are stacked against the coalition when compared to the PPP. A single crossover vote and two abstentions from within the coalition would change the political course of direction for the New Year. The “scheduled” 2020 general elections will have to be moved up to at least June 2019. A successful non-confidence motion does not mean, however, that the PPP will be in power but will provide an early opportunity for the public to choose who they want to lead them for another term. Additionally, a successful motion would send a signal that the coalition government has failed to meet the expectations of the opposition but not necessarily the will of the Guyanese public. Obviously, the public will not vote for or against the motion. However, the voting pattern in Parliament will parallel the voting pattern at large, that is, ethnic-oriented voting. Guyana is still an ethnically and politically divided country, an unfortunate status that will only climb and continue to worrying heights if the motion is successful. Expect nastier political campaigns and even post-election violence. 

If the non-confidence motion is defeated then we will return to square one without any significant and meaningful sanguine attitudes emanating from that experience. The finger-pointing from both sides of the political aisle will continue with each political party applying steadfast bulldozing tactics that the other is not “fit and proper” to govern Guyana. Some politicians will continue the political antics of the hero in a crowd syndrome, and in the process, ignoring and sideling the fundamental responsibility of delivering to the people. Expect a lack of political hygiene, political binge spending and the little intersection between the practice of authority and accountability from those who control the ambit of power.

What will also emerge from the non-confidence motion is the revelation as to how Guyanese politicians think. There is no secret that the practice of ethnonational politics is rife in Guyana, and therefore it is expected that politicians will vote to please their ethnic support base as opposed to introducing a platform to institute reformative policies. To do otherwise would be a mission of political suicide. Ironically, politicians have campaigned for voters to vote according to policies but come December 21 they will vote according to their ethnic base of support. The AFC ethnic base of support has vanished in thin air which means the voting pattern within the coalition will go according to the PNCR ethnic base of support. Speaking intuitively then the abstentions and crossover votes from the political divide but more so from the APNU and AFC coalition government will have to come from the marginalized or disenfranchised or liberal-minded backbenchers who are seeking change or something different to what they have been experiencing, among other factors. The probability for this to happen is unknown but this is exactly what the coalition is afraid of since its internal jell has weakened significantly since 2015. One does not have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that all is not well with the coalition. A simple exercise of thumbing through the pages of the dailies will reveal the foibles and gross dereliction of political duties and responsibilities from the coalition government. However, internal dissonance within the coalition will be shelved to ensure that the non-confidence motion does not succeed and concomitantly ensuring the survival of the APNU and AFC coalition government a full term in office. We have reached a point where we begin to wonder who will put the bell around the cat’s neck, who will become the new hero or the new pariah of Guyana with regard to how he or she votes towards the non-confidence motion, or nothing of substance will happen. We will have to wait and see which is testing and taxing my mind.