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PM confident of defeating “no confidence” vote

By Kenton X. Chance

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Jan 30, CMC – Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves says he is confident his ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) administration will defeat a motion of no confidence filed by the opposition when it comes up for debate on Wednesday.

“I would wish this motion to be heard speedily. We do not do like some other places, duck and run from motions of no confidence because I’m quite sure that the eight members on this side are more than seven members on the other side and all eight members have confidence in the government.

Gonsalves at OAS
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves

“So that, Mr. Speaker, motion is doomed to fail,” Gonsalves said, noting that the Constitution makes it clear that only parliamentary representatives can vote on a motion of no confidence.

“I would wish to get this motion out of the way,” he added.

Opposition Leader Dr. Godwin Friday filed the motion of no confidence just before opposition lawmakers walked out of the Parliament on Monday.

Monday’s parliamentary session meeting included debate on the first Estimates of Income and Expenditure to be presented by Finance Minister Camillo Gonsalves, since becoming Minister of Finance, last month.

Gonsalves made his presentation in the absence of the opposition law makers who are protesting his ’ continued silence in the an on-going court matter in which a former 23-year-old model, Yugge Farrell, who is  charged with using abusive language to Gonsalves’ wife claimed she and the minister were involved in an extramarital relationship that ended in 2016.

The alleged affair came to light after Farrell was hauled before the court on January 5 and then sent to undergo psychiatric evaluation at the Mental Health Centre. She has since been released on EC$1,000 (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) bail and will re-appear in court on December, 17 this year.

The main opposition New Democratic Party (NDC) has seven of the 15 seats in the Parliament and the Opposition Leader on Monday did not comment on the grounds on which opposition lawmakers brought the motion of no confidence.

However, according to a copy of the motion circulated to the media, the opposition legislators contend that the Gonsalves government “has been failing the people miserably in providing a satisfactory quality of life” and its priorities of the Government in its use of taxpayers’ money have produced totally inadequate health services and basic maintenance of roads”.

The motion also states that “the collapse of the economy has deprived our youth of hope and employment opportunities” and that there is “a climate of fear through intimidation at all levels of Vincentian society”.

The opposition claim that the climate of fear, has become “widespread due to the manifest abuse of the powers of the State of its institutions, which are often employed as weapons against citizens, to serve the agenda of Government officials, their family members and associates”.

The motion further speaks of “a breakdown in law and order as demonstrated by the incidence of rampant crime and the failure of the various agencies of law enforcement to protect the more vulnerable members of society, including the elderly, women and young persons”.

Prime Minister Gonsalves told legislators that Tuesday would have been too soon to respond to the motion because lawmakers need to study it to be able to respond and that the island will be hosting the foreign minister of Taiwan on Thursday.

He said he was also worried that should the debate begin on Friday, it might not end in time for the commencement of the Sabbath for those legislators who are members of the Seventh – day Adventist faith and recommended the suspension of the motion until Wednesday, when two other members of the government side will debate the Estimates.

The debate of the motion will commence immediately thereafter.

“We don’t set a particular time for it since we don’t know when the debate is going to be finished. So it’s on the Order Paper.   There would be an Order Paper in accordance with the Standing Orders of the House. The Estimates would be there, and then the vote of no confidence.”

The government must debate the motion within seven days, and political observers have noted that the government would be minded to get it out of the way before the new finance minister presents his first budget, scheduled for next Monday, February  5.

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By Kenton X. Chance

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Jan 30, CMC – Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves says he is confident his ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) administration will defeat a motion of no confidence filed by the opposition when it comes up for debate on Wednesday.

“I would wish this motion to be heard speedily. We do not do like some other places, duck and run from motions of no confidence because I’m quite sure that the eight members on this side are more than seven members on the other side and all eight members have confidence in the government.

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Gonsalves at OAS
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves

“So that, Mr. Speaker, motion is doomed to fail,” Gonsalves said, noting that the Constitution makes it clear that only parliamentary representatives can vote on a motion of no confidence.

“I would wish to get this motion out of the way,” he added.

Opposition Leader Dr. Godwin Friday filed the motion of no confidence just before opposition lawmakers walked out of the Parliament on Monday.

Monday’s parliamentary session meeting included debate on the first Estimates of Income and Expenditure to be presented by Finance Minister Camillo Gonsalves, since becoming Minister of Finance, last month.

Gonsalves made his presentation in the absence of the opposition law makers who are protesting his ’ continued silence in the an on-going court matter in which a former 23-year-old model, Yugge Farrell, who is  charged with using abusive language to Gonsalves’ wife claimed she and the minister were involved in an extramarital relationship that ended in 2016.

The alleged affair came to light after Farrell was hauled before the court on January 5 and then sent to undergo psychiatric evaluation at the Mental Health Centre. She has since been released on EC$1,000 (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) bail and will re-appear in court on December, 17 this year.

The main opposition New Democratic Party (NDC) has seven of the 15 seats in the Parliament and the Opposition Leader on Monday did not comment on the grounds on which opposition lawmakers brought the motion of no confidence.

However, according to a copy of the motion circulated to the media, the opposition legislators contend that the Gonsalves government “has been failing the people miserably in providing a satisfactory quality of life” and its priorities of the Government in its use of taxpayers’ money have produced totally inadequate health services and basic maintenance of roads”.

The motion also states that “the collapse of the economy has deprived our youth of hope and employment opportunities” and that there is “a climate of fear through intimidation at all levels of Vincentian society”.

The opposition claim that the climate of fear, has become “widespread due to the manifest abuse of the powers of the State of its institutions, which are often employed as weapons against citizens, to serve the agenda of Government officials, their family members and associates”.

The motion further speaks of “a breakdown in law and order as demonstrated by the incidence of rampant crime and the failure of the various agencies of law enforcement to protect the more vulnerable members of society, including the elderly, women and young persons”.

Prime Minister Gonsalves told legislators that Tuesday would have been too soon to respond to the motion because lawmakers need to study it to be able to respond and that the island will be hosting the foreign minister of Taiwan on Thursday.

He said he was also worried that should the debate begin on Friday, it might not end in time for the commencement of the Sabbath for those legislators who are members of the Seventh – day Adventist faith and recommended the suspension of the motion until Wednesday, when two other members of the government side will debate the Estimates.

The debate of the motion will commence immediately thereafter.

“We don’t set a particular time for it since we don’t know when the debate is going to be finished. So it’s on the Order Paper.   There would be an Order Paper in accordance with the Standing Orders of the House. The Estimates would be there, and then the vote of no confidence.”

The government must debate the motion within seven days, and political observers have noted that the government would be minded to get it out of the way before the new finance minister presents his first budget, scheduled for next Monday, February  5.