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Godwin Friday 3

Opposition Leader Dr. Godwin Friday. (iWN file photo)

The main opposition New Democratic party says that while bringing another motion of no confidence in the government is an option, it has not made any determination as yet.

Opposition lawmakers failed on Jan. 31 to have debated in Parliament the motion of no confidence that they brought against the Ralph Gonsalves Unity Labour Party administration.

House Speaker Jomo Thomas allowed the government to amend the motion, turning it into a motion of confidence.

He later said on Facebook that he “erred” when he allowed that to happen and should have allowed debate on the opposition’s motion.

Leader of the Opposition Godwin Friday has since written to the speaker about the development.

He told a press conference on Friday that the speaker was yet to respond to the letter, but they have both spoken since.

During the Jan. 31 debate in Parliament, Gonsalves said that he would ask – if the Cabinet agrees, that Attorney General Jaundy Martin ask the court for a definite pronouncement on whether the majority of lawmakers needed to give permission for a motion of no confidence to be debated upon.

But at his press conference on Friday, the opposition leader suggested that he was doubtful that Gonsalves would act in that regard.

“Nothing is going to happen. I predict that, but let’s see if he does. If he does, of course, we will be happy to join in and having the matter dealt with by the court because we have no fear about its resolution.”

Friday said he has spoken to the speaker after having sent him the letter but has not had a written response.

The opposition leader told the media that a motion of no confidence can be brought back to the Parliament but if one accepts the interpretation to the relevant section of the Constitution that the government provided in Parliament, the motion can meet the same fate.

“I know that the Speaker of the House has said he made the wrong decision but I don’t know what it means in terms of what the right decision would be,” Friday said.

“But, certainly, one of the red herrings that was raised in the Parliament by Prime Minister Gonsalves with respect to motions of no confidence and why it is that it cannot be that if you bring a motion you should be entitled to bring it ‘because every Monday morning the opposition would bring a motion of no confidence and it would frustrate the business of government.’

“We’ve been in opposition for 17 years. This is the first motion of no confidence that we are bringing,” Friday said, adding that motions of no confidence are brought sometimes because lawmakers want “to highlight certain issues”.

“They are strategic political decisions. They are also brought because you can bring the government down. That’s the primary objective. But, in many cases, motions of no confidence do not carry, they do not pass, but they raise critical issues.

Friday said it was “a total bogus red herring” for the prime minister to have said that  if majority support was not needed for a motion of no confidence to go to a debate, the opposition would bring one every Monday morning — a colloquial expression meaning frequently.

“… practically speaking, it is not going to happen because you look foolish as well bringing a motion of no confidence every Monday morning if it’s not going to have an effect, and the electorate is not going to judge you kindly if you are going to waste their time and make yourself look foolish. So, obviously, there is that restraint on it.”

Regarding what the NDP is going to do, Friday said, “You will have to wait and see, but, certainly, it is an option that it can be brought to the house again.”

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11 replies on “What will the NDP do about no confidence motion?”

  1. Yes, it is a difficult issue when the Government does not obey the supreme law of the land, or tries to rewrite it on the spot, (by saying a majority is needed, when the law says three members). Obviously Ralph Gonsalves is very frightened and not man enough (as the executive) to allow the law to be obeyed. I wonder why he is so scared! Seems to me the no-confidence motion will not pass. Does he know something we do not?

    1. Why is Friday so scared to take this issue to the courts? Why? You well know the answer: he would be made to look like a constitutional ass.

    2. The question that baffles me legally is why the Opposition Leader is not applying for Judicial review? The legal principle of he/she who alleges must prove is quite applicable. Seek the redress of the courts etc…..but alas, we know this won’t happen.

      I am sure the LOP can start the process of what will no doubt be an interesting legal interpretation case. Why is Dr. Friday not exhausting all legal remedies available?

      1. You have exposed yourself as what we old people used to call a “goatskin lawyer,” someone who doesn’t know the law.

        How can all legal remedies be tried when you don’t have a legal leg to stand on?

        Don’t you think that the NDP would have gone to court already if their legal team had told them they have even a sliver of a chance of winning?

        On this issue and many more, the NDP has proven to be a party “full of sound and fury signifying nothing” (Macbeth Act 5, Scene 5).

      2. C-Ben David, you clearly missed the sarcasm and rhetorical questions in my responses. Haven’t I been consistent in saying that if they had a legal leg to stand on common sense dictated that they would have followed a particular course?

  2. Dr. Friday, if you are so CERTAIN of the “illegality” of the decision surrounding the motion, why have you not sought judicial review or at least entertain the courts to have the matter resolved? This all seems like deja vu, just like the frivolous and vexatious election petitions, that even with all the NDP lawyers on the ground and those that flew in, the NDP waited until the proverbial “last hour” to file the petitions.

    Our legal system allows everyone aggrieved to appeal or seek redress under law. Social media, radio and television proclamations or alternative budgets etc. will NOT assist the NDP if they are so CERTAIN THAT THE ACTIONS WERE ULTRA VIRES.

    Common sense dictates to me that just like every other issue, the NDP will NOT approach the Courts because they are appraised of the legal issues and outcomes surrounding the motions. So what do they do?

    They do what is now their DNA, take the matters to the public and attempt to confuse same instead of dealing with any matters within the legal framework. Unfortunately, the NDP has failed to realize that “the reasonable man and woman” are now becoming more informed and that this style of credulous and gullible style of politics will only resonate with a few. Old people say “You could fool some of the people some of the times; but you cant fool all of the people, all of the times.”

    Seek Judicial Review of the Matter or get over it!


  3. Vincy in New York says:

    Dr. Friday needs to be more eloquent and make bold statements as do Sir James. Sir James took on the “string quartet” and won.

    Basically, you SHOULD NOT be able to amend a motion of non-confidence with a motion of confidence. The amended motion of confidence must be germane to the original motion, which is a motion of no-confidence. The speaker of the house knows this and alluded to his mistake.

    Confidence and no-confidence are black and white or true and false. An amendment must be germane to the motion it seeks to amend. Any amendment that is diametrically opposed to or rejects the original motion is NOT germane and is out of order.

    Sir James hit the nail on its head!

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