At present, the government is facing two such motions, with the first being filed in December 2012, some eight months ago, and the latest in early July this year.
Various and changing reasons have been advanced over the months by the government to help justify its inaction to help facilitate the bringing of the motions to parliament for debate and a vote.
At first it was argued that there is no prescribed timeline that forces the hearing of the motions; then it was suggested by the government that because parliamentarians had taken court action to force the Speaker to hear the first motion, it was not prudent for the matter to be debated. Though the Leader of the PAM dismissed that excuse he took the decision to have his lawyers discontinue the case, thereby, as he said, denying the government the opportunity to further claim sub judice.
The latest strategy being employed by the government, according to PAM, as their platform speakers have recently suggested, is for the government to seek to justify its delay by falsely claiming that it is the former PAM Administration of Dr. Sir Kennedy Simmonds that is to be blame.
“I believe that as this discussion continues on matters pertaining to the Motion of No Confidence, it must be noted where the (Kennedy) Simmonds/PAM Administration had a Motion of No Confidence in 1983 steering them in their face. That’s why when they went to England to negotiate our Independence Constitution, there was nothing (timeframe) placed in the constitution about when a Motion of No Confidence should be brought to Parliament, as we have seen written in other constitutions in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, in Antigua and Barbuda and in Trinidad and Tobago,” argued Douglas.
In a sharp response, PAM has however indicated that the prime minister ought to be reminded that that 1983 motion was withdrawn by the Labour Party leader at the time, the late Sir Lee L Moore. PAM has also reminded that Lee Moore filed the motion and thereafter discontinued the motion. The opposition party has also tried to make the case that the same motion was placed on the Order Paper of the House of Assembly and at present the government of Dr. Douglas is refusing to even allow them to be put on the Order Paper.
The current Labour leader continues his argument that PAM should have ensured in 1983 that a specific timeline had been placed in the constitution to determine when such motions must be debated and voted on, as is the case, stated Douglas, in other Caribbean countries.
Though Douglas acknowledges that the case against the Speaker was in fact discontinued by PAM and the other opposition parties, he has stated that Speaker Curtis Martin is awaiting certain declarations from the High Court.