Editorial

Matters of Confidence

Image of Theresa May

NO Confidence Motions are much in the news these days. Last year ended with the most-watched of all in the Caribbean — in Guyana, where, four days before Christmas, an opposition call for a Vote of No Confidence against the government, in a parliament in which the government has a one-seat majority, was carried.

Yesterday saw another major No Confidence Motion, this time in the UK Parliament, brought on by the worst defeat dealt to a UK government on Tuesday, when Prime Minister Theresa May lost the parliamentary vote on her Brexit deal 203 to 432.

The Guyana result has resulted in an apparent national crisis, with the government of President David Granger resorting to everything from mathematical calculus to vexatious litigation to try to worm its way out of a Constitutional requirement that the government resign and make way for General Elections in 90 days. But the Opposition, which won the vote after a government MP voted to support it, is maintaining the pressure for the Constitution to be followed.

Yesterday’s UK vote was also about acceding to another earlier on, this time the June 2016 52%-48% referendum vote in favour of Britain leaving the European Union (EU). But in trying to implement her election promise to implement that vote in the past two-and-a-half years, Mrs May has been unable to unite her own Conservative Party behind her Brexit Deal. In the process, she’s earned the dishonor of being voted the most unpopular British Prime Minister — among parliamentary peers — in modern history.

Interestingly, while the majority of Tories in the UK parliament oppose the May Brexit Plan, they have also repeatedly shown they will not vote in any way that will eventually cost them their seats. Last year, her parliamentary party partly sealed her place as its parliamentary leader (for at least another year); and even as she again ran the clock right down to the wire, the lady was never expected to lose yesterday’s vote.

Not so in Guyana, however, where the sole vote that caused the government’s downfall was cast by a frustrated government MP.

Then, just as the British parliamentarians huddled for yesterday’s vote, news came of a No Confidence Vote being set for the Greek Parliament. (See story on this page)

Before all that, however, the stage was long set — since November 2018 — for a No Confidence Motion here. Filed by the Opposition, it’s been going through period of required technical preparation by the Office of Parliament, but no date has been set for the debate.

The draft has been almost two months in the parliamentary making, yet there’s not been enough public discussion on the Motion to be debated. The parties and the parliament remain deafeningly silent on what is definitely a matter of public interest.

For example: What does the opposition motion say? Is it against the Government or the Prime Minister? What are the Constitutional requirements here? What happens if it is passed?

This is another instance where our politicians need to see themselves not only as lords and masters unto themselves, but as elected representatives selected for the job and (who are) expected to consult and inform their people all the time, all the way, on such matters.

But all’s not lost. There’s still time — between now and the announcement of the date for the debate — for the parties involved to let the people they represent know what it’s all about.

Meanwhile, as it turns out in this matter, it’s our politicians who still need to earn the people’s confidence.

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