In his latest court case, Opposition Chief Whip Christopher Jones argues that the appointments of Sarah Browne and Vickash Ramkissoon as non-elected Members of Parliament (MPs) and Parliamentary Secretaries to the Amerindian Affairs and Agriculture Ministries respectively violate the Guyana Constitution.

Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, Sarah Browne

According to a case filed in the High Court, Jones argues that Browne and Ramkissoon cannot be appointed as unelected MPs since they were named on the List of Candidates presented by the Progressive / Municipal People’s Party for March 2, 2020 General and Regional. Elections.
This, he argues, makes them elected members of the National Assembly, since their names were removed from the party list. As such, he argues, they are not valid and legal members of the National Assembly, nor are they validly appointed Parliamentary Secretaries.
In the submissions filed, it was stated that Article 103 (3) of the Constitution provides that no more than four Ministers and two Parliamentary Secretaries shall be appointed by the President from among persons eligible for election to be members of the National Assembly. .
Jones has further submitted that Article 186 (1) states that Parliamentary Secretaries may not be appointed from persons who are, or are eligible to be, elected members of the National Assembly.
In addition, it has stated in its submissions that Article 183 (3) states that a Parliamentary Secretary who was not an elected member of the Assembly at the time of his appointment (unless he becomes such a member) will be a member Assembly by virtue of holding the office of Parliamentary Secretary but may not vote in the Assembly.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Vickash Ramkissoon

The APNU / AFC MP has said that he was advised by Attorney Roysdale Forde, SC, and indeed believes, that Browne and Ramkissoon are elected members of the National Assembly under Article 60 (2), which provides for for the election of Members of Parliament under the proportional representation system.
Jones argues that Browne, and Ramkissoon, under Article 103 (3) and Article 186 of the Constitution, are not valid and legal members of the National Assembly, and are not validly appointed Parliamentary Secretaries Government, because they are on the party’s List. of Candidates.
Noting that Browne and Ramkissoon are still members of the National Assembly, Jones asks the court to grant an Order forcing National Assembly Speaker Manzoor Nadir to prevent him from sitting in and taking part in the business of the National Assembly.
“… As a member of the National Assembly, it is right and proper that I demand and insist on full compliance with the Constitution,” Jones said in an affidavit in support of his application. He also asks the court to award him costs. A date for hearing this issue is likely in the new year.

Nothing unconstitutional
The Minister for Governance and Parliamentary Affairs Gail Teixeira had told this publication that there is nothing unconstitutional with Browne and Ramkissoon’s appointments. On September 15, 2020, when they were appointed, Teixeira had made clear that constitutional reforms in 2009 provided for four technocrat Ministers and two Parliamentary Secretaries.
According to the veteran politician, Parliamentary Secretaries can be appointed from MPs who are elected [on the party’s list], or by persons who are eligible to be MPs. “So you can have an MP who is a Parliamentary Secretary and one who isn’t.”
“Those who are not elected MPs [not on the party’s list], they are allowed to sit in Parliament (i) speak but not vote. ”
She had further clarified that, in the past, Pauline Sukhai, now Minister of Amerindian Affairs, is an MP and Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry of which she is now head. He said the current Labor Minister, Joseph Hamilton, is an MP and Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry of Health.
This latest court case comes two weeks after Chief Justice Roxane George ruled that appointing Oneidge Walrond as Minister of Tourism and Member of Parliament was illegal, as she was a U.S. citizen when she took the oath of office.
Attorney General Anil Nandlall had admitted that her appointment was made in breach of the Constitution, and since then the Government has taken steps to remedy this by getting Walrond to take the oath of office.
Article 155 prohibits dual citizens from being elected members of the National Assembly.

Previous article2 busy with narco in Berbice