Dec 31, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – Earlier this year, a Motion of No-Confidence was tabled by the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) administration against the Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon. However, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Manzoor Nadir said that it will be thrown out.
During a press conference hosted by the Speaker on Thursday morning in the Public Buildings, Brickdam, Georgetown, he told members of the media in an invited comment that the same process that allowed for the Opposition Leader to be appointed would have to be followed for him to be removed.
Against this backdrop, he said that it is likely to be thrown out.
“With respect to the Government Motion against the Leader of the Opposition, my position has been that the Constitution is quite clear with respect to how you appoint the Leader of the Opposition and so the same process should be employed in disappointing (sic) the Leader of the Opposition,” the Speaker pointed out.
The Motion was tabled against Harmon by the government, less than 48 hours after he filed a no-confidence motion against two sitting ministers.
In this regard, the Speaker of the House told reporters, “The three no confidence motions that were filed, the Clerk has responded. Two of those no confidence motions (are) governed by a High Court case, which says that No Confidence Motions should be brought against the Government and not a particular Minister.”
As a consequence the Speaker noted, “So for me, they are not going to go on any order paper.” Meaning, the motions will be thrown out.
According to the motion signed by Prime Minister, (ret’d) Brigadier Mark Phillips, against Harmon, the House expressed its lack of confidence in the Leader of the Opposition for a number of reasons outlined and therefore, calls for his immediate resignation.
In the reasons outlined in the motion, inter alia, cites Harmon for his crucial and integral part of the process of undermining democracy. To this end, the motion outlined that Harmon continues, repeatedly and consistently, to misinform the public and the National Assembly, that the A Partnership for National Unity +Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Coalition won the 2020 General and Regional Elections.
Further to his charge, the Government says that Harmon has continually engaged in the reckless peddling of misinformation as it relates to the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The no-confidence motion against Harmon came one day after he presented similar motions of no-confidence against Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, and Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, to Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs.
President, Irfaan Ali, dismissed the two no-confidence motions, stating that the documents lacked effort and meaningfulness.
Since then, the PPP/C Administration has said that it stands ready to defend the performance of Dr. Anthony and Minister Benn in a parliamentary debate. Additionally, the government said it is confident that the motion will not succeed due to its one-seat majority in the House.
This is not the first time a motion of no-confidence was filed against a sitting minister. In 2012 by way of a vote by the opposition majority, a motion of no-confidence to bar former Minister of Home Affairs, Clement Rohee, from speaking or participating in the affairs of the National Assembly was passed. The original motion was to remove Rohee from his ministerial portfolio but considering that, that could not be legally done, the decision was made by then Speaker, Raphael Trotman, to prevent Rohee from speaking in Parliament.
That decision later became the subject of a court case, filed by Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, and in a subsequent ruling, the late Chief Justice (Ag) Ian Chang, overturned the decision to gag the then Minister.
In his ruling, Chang noted, among other things, that Parliament could not, through any Bill or Motion be empowered to negate the powers of any member of the National Assembly. Chang had further determined that whenever the Court’s jurisdiction is invoked on any issue, the Court’s decision is final and binding.
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