What’s Behind Guyana ‘No Confidence’ Motion Against Minister of Home Affairs

Clement Rohee, Guyana’s Minister of Home Affairs

It may come as a surprise to Jamaicans, Trinidadians and Barbadians grappling with their own domestic socio-economic and political challenges that the parliamentary Opposition in Guyana is debating a “no confidence” motion against the country’s minister of home affairs, Clement Rohee, rather than one with a wider national dimension at a time of claimed “crisis”.

Last Wednesday, the 65-member National Assembly, where the combined Opposition — A Partnership for National Unity (APNU with 26 seats, and Alliance for Change seven) — control a one-seat majority against the governing People’s Progressive Party’s 32 representatives, started debate on the no-confidence motion against Minister Rohee.

The motion, which was approved for debate by the Speaker (Raphael Trotman, who is leader of the AFC), without normal official notification and established parliamentary procedures, was deemed by the governing party’s Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira, as “dangerous” in the precedent it had created.

Standing in the name of APNU chairman and Opposition Leader Brigadier David Granger (retired) of the Guyana Defence Force, the no-confidence motion was triggered by the shooting deaths of three demonstrators by the police and injuries suffered by a dozen others last Tuesday in the bauxite mining town of Linden. It is a stronghold of the People’s National Congress (PNC), the dominant party in the APNU.

The tragedies, resulting from violent clashes between the police and organised protesters rallying against a phased period for implementing new electricity rates, were to be followed by acts of widespread looting, arson, robberies and sheer thuggery over two days.

Independent probe

Both the Government and Opposition grappled to reach consensus on an independent probe with an international component, with August 2 identified as the date to finalise the terms of reference.

Not only had both Minister Rohee and Opposition Leader Granger separately called for the removal from Linden of the police commander in charge, but Police Commissioner Leroy Brummel had stressed…

Read more: Rickey Singh, The Jamaica Observer
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