Speaker of the House Dr. Barton Scotland, a distinguished Attorney who was actually nominated to the post by the APNU-AFC, stood his ground on impartiality yesterday, and maintained that the PPP tabled no-confidence motion was carried.
As such, he refused the government’s request to reverse it.
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) who did not attend the sitting had earlier expressed worry that Dr. Scotland might have sided with the APNU-AFC government since it was them who nominated him to be Speaker of the House – a position that he would eventually have to relinquish if the motion was deemed as passed.
But yesterday, it became obviously clear that Dr. Scotland’s allegiance was aligned with the people and the constitution, and not to any political party, during his examinations of the arguments that were put forward to him writing by the government and the opposition yesterday.
Citing several legal principles and matters of a similar nature in other countries, Dr Scotland reasoned that though he has the power to reverse the No Confidence Motion, enough convincing arguments were not put forward by the government to cause him to reverse the passing of the said motion.
Among several other arguments, the APNU-AFC had lamented that in order for a vote of no-confidence to pass, it would have required an absolute majority of 34 and not 33. This was in direct relation to the case where their own MP Charandass Persaud had defected and voted in favour of the motion, which was carried at 34-34, and immediately resulted in the fall of the government.
However, in response, Dr. Scotland explained that though Article 168 of the Constitution seems to support such a contention, it does not.
In his view, a Vote of No Confidence actually falls under Article 106 (6), which establishes that “The cabinet including the president shall resign if the government is defeated by the Vote of a majority of all the elected members of the national assembly, on a vote of no confidence”.
As far as Dr. Scotland was concerned, the attempt by the government to based their arguments on Article 168 was not correct.
Therefore, as far as the Speaker was concerned, the No Confidence motion was carried.