Feb 03, 2014 News
A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) is expected to extract a candidate from the 2011 Parliamentary list to replace the coalition’s front bencher, Deborah Backer, in anticipation of her quitting for health reasons.
The ailing veteran People’s National Congress and APNU parliamentarian is expected to resign her assembly seat this week, but sources within the coalition say they expect that Opposition leader, David Granger should replace her with someone to fill the crucial Foreign Affairs portfolio which she has held for several years.
Backer, an attorney at law, is reported to be overseas receiving medical treatment for an undisclosed illness. Her absence from recent sittings of the House meant that the Opposition operated without its one-seat majority and therefore, Backer is moving to give up the position, ensuring that she is replaced to allow the combined Opposition to regain its majority.
Sources say Granger and top APNU leaderships are leaning towards replacing her with a female but some party insiders say former diplomat and ex-assemblyman Aubrey Norton should have been the natural replacement for Backer, given his vast experience on Foreign Affairs.
APNU’s executive member Joseph Harmon told Kaieteur News yesterday that while no disclosures have been made regarding Backer’s case, names from the 2011 Parliamentary list will be reviewed as replacements in the “unfortunate” event that the front bencher should be replaced.
He explained that Backer plays a crucial role in her function on the opposing team. To replace her, he indicated, would be a herculean task since, “she is very experienced and reliable.” Harmon noted that, she is very versed and is keen on the rules of Parliament having been a veteran in that area. He noted also that not only is it a loss to the party but also a great loss to Parliament, where Backer also sits as the Deputy Speaker of the Assembly.
Harmon said, however, that he would expect that Norton would have been one of the candidates to be reviewed.
It is anticipated that Backer would make an announcement before the next sitting of Parliament, Kaieteur News was told. PRO Mark Archer explained that Backer and her family will make the disclosure, when the time comes.
He mentioned that Mrs. Backer would have over a decade’s worth of experience and held several leadership roles in her political functions.
Aubrey Norton, former Foreign Service Officer and People’s National Congress Reform executive, has expressed his agreement to function. He noted that while the decision lies with the APNU, he would have no objection serving for his party, a part of APNU.
Given his experience and knowledge in the area of Foreign Affairs, he agreed that his talents would be crucial, while adding also, that it would be a great loss if Backer resigns.
A replacement for Deputy Speaker will have to be voted on, if Backer is to step down.
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