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PM: Eustace has major knowledge gaps

PM: Eustace has major knowledge gaps


Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace is mistaken about the laws concerning when a vote of No Confidence can be brought against this country’s government.{{more}}

This was pointed out by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves earlier this week.

The prime minister was at the time referring to statements, which he described as surprising, made by Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace.

Eustace, in an interview with SEARCHLIGHT last week, claimed that the Opposition can only bring forward a motion of No Confidence on the third sitting of Parliament, which, this year, happens to be in two weeks’ time.

Eustace’s statements were published in the March 9 edition of SEARCHLIGHT.

Eustace also alleged that when that time came in sittings past, the government representatives would fill the agenda with a number of issues, making it impossible for the Opposition to debate their motion.

“He is just plain wrong,” said Dr. Gonsalves, who stated that “the Opposition Leader has major gaps in his knowledge on basic issues of governance, of administration, and of economic management.”

Quoting the constitution of St Vincent and the Grenadines, the Prime Minister highlighted Section 47; 2a, which states: ‘If notice in writing is given to the Speaker, signed by not less than three representatives of a motion of no confidence in the government, the speaker shall (i) if the house is then sitting or has been summoned to meet within five days, cause the motion to be considered by the House within seven days of the notice.’

“That is, if the House is sitting, or has been summoned to meet within five days; and you submit a vote of No Confidence, signed by three elected persons, the Speaker has to put the motion down within seven days of the notice,” the Prime Minister explained.

Or: (ii) if the House is not then sitting and has not been so summoned… summon the house to meet within 14 days of the notice, and cause the motion to be considered at that meeting: provided that if the House does not within 21 days of the notice meet and dispose of the motion the Clerk of the House shall summon a special meeting of the House at such time and place as he may specify for the purpose of debating and disposing of the motion.’

According to Gonsalves, the issue of a no confidence vote arose at a meeting between members of the New Democratic Party and the party’s financiers, during a meeting in Antigua three weeks ago.

He said, he has, on a number of occasions, pointed out the Opposition Leader’s inability to keep the government in check and in raising matters which he may consider to be important to be raised.

“It is a novel thing that the prime minister of a country… have to educate him about a motion of no confidence.

“….If you are the Leader of the Opposition, you’ve been in Parliament for 14 years and you don’t know something as basic as this… something is really wrong.

“He has been prime minister of this country, the Leader of the Opposition for 11 years… he has been around government as a public servant for donkey years, and he comes and tells people that I am preventing him from holding a no confidence motion, when Section 47 says he has the right to bring it any time.”

“According to Arnhim Eustace, calls are being made by NDP supporters for a vote of no confidence against the Gonsalves administration, but it has not been agreed if the opposition will make that move.”

“Well if the supporters calling you, read the law nuh, and see what the law says.

“For this reason alone, if he brings a vote of no confidence; I now having educated him on it, would be grounds for us to amend that motion which he brings, for a vote of no confidence in him.

Gonsalves made his statements at a press conference held at Cabinet Room in Kingstown, on Monday, March 12, during which he reported on his trip to the CARICOM Heads of Government meeting, which took place in Suriname last week.(JJ)