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Procedure for dealing with No-Confidence Motion - Mr. Sherlock Isaacs A.A., Clerk of the National Assembly

Hits: 182 / Published Date: 21 Nov, 2018


Procedure for dealing with No-Confidence Motions


During the past week, several persons, including the media, have contacted me with respect to the procedure which deals with no-confidence motions. This release treats with this query.
Over the years, I have conducted extensive research on no-confidence motions. I have observed that no-confidence motions are dealt with differently in various Commonwealth Parliaments.
The Standing Orders of the Parliament of Guyana are silent on the requirements of a no-confidence motion. However, Standing Order No.113 (1) of the National Assembly of the Parliament of Guyana states:
“In any matter not herein provided for, resort shall be had to the usage and practice of the Commons Assembly of Parliament of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which shall be followed as far as the same, may be applicable to the Assembly, and not inconsistent with these Standing Orders or with practice of the Assembly.”
The 24th Edition of the Parliamentary Practice of the Commons Assembly of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Erskine May, page 344, states:
“From time to time the Opposition puts down a motion on the paper expressing lack of confidence in the Government or otherwise criticising its general conduct. By established convention the Government always accedes to the demand from the Leader of the Opposition to allot a day for the discussion of a motion tabled by the official Opposition which in the Government`s view, would have the effect of testing the confidence of the House. In allotting a day for this purpose the Government is entitled to have regard to the exigencies of its own business, but a reasonably early day is invariably found….”

Therefore, in keeping with the British practice, when a motion of no-confidence was brought against the Government in 2014, having regard to the exigencies of the Government`s business, it was published on Notice Paper and dealt with like other Private Members’ motions that require notice: it was placed on the Order Paper for consideration  by the National Assembly twelve (12)  days from the day on which the notice was published on a Notice Paper.
In my view, the day for the hearing of a no-confidence motion is determined by the Government and not by the Speaker of the National Assembly of the Parliament of Guyana.

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