Guyana’s parliament brings down government, triggering new elections

Vastavam web: Guyana’s parliament voted late on Friday in favor of a no-confidence motion in the government, triggering new elections in March in a surprise defeat for President David Granger as he seeks to develop the nation’s oil sector. One lawmaker defected from Granger’s APNU-AFC coalition, which had a one-seat majority, and sided with an opposition-led motion to cut short his term that would have ended in 2020. The Guyanese parliament had never before called a no-confidence vote.

Since 1999, Guyana has awarded a group led by Exxon hundreds of oil blocks along the country’s maritime borders with Venezuela and Suriname. Oil output could reach more than 500,000 barrels per day in coming years, similar to OPEC-member Ecuador. Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo accepted defeat and said their coalition would return to the polls. “This is not the end this is just a challenge that we need to deal with,” Nagamootoo told a news conference.

“They sold our patrimony,” said Bharrat Jagdeo, leader of the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP). Granger’s government insists it got the best deal and is banking on new oil wealth to transform the economy.