– removal from the National Assembly
Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU + AFC) has approached the High Court to seek a statement to remove Parliamentary Secretaries, Sarah Browne and Vikash Ramkissoon from the National Assembly.
A fixed-date application filed in the name of Opposition Chief Whip Christopher Jones alleges both were illegally appointed.
Jones is represented by Senior Counsel-at-Law Roysdale Ford, Mayo Robertson, Raphael Trotman, Geeta Chandan-Edmond, Amanza Walton-Desir, Olayne Joseph and Darren Wade
Browne, Ramkissoon, Attorney General and Minister for Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall and National Assembly Spokesperson Manzoor Nadir are all listed as respondents.
In the application, Jones asks the court for a statement that Browne and Ramkissoon are not legitimate members of the 12th National Assembly of Guyana’s Parliament nor are they validly appointed Parliamentary Secretaries.
Brown is the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, while Ramkissoon is the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture. Both are MPs.
The applicant is also seeking an order from the court directing the Speaker of the National Assembly to prevent Browne and Ramkissoon from sitting in or participating in National Assembly business.
On its grounds, Jones argues that Browne and Ramkissoon are not valid and legal members of the National Assembly, which violates the Guyana Constitution.
This, he claims, occurred on September 15, 2020, when Browne and Ramkissoon took their oaths as non-elected members of the National Assembly.
He also argues that the duo was named on the List of Candidates submitted by the People’s Progressive / Civic Party in accordance with the Cap of the Representation of the People Act. 1:03 for General and Regional Elections March 2nd.
In support of his grounds for the application, Jones listed Articles 103 (3) and 186 of the Constitution which state “The President shall appoint no more than four Ministers and two Parliamentary Secretaries from among persons eligible for may be appointed as a member of the National Assembly ”and“ Parliamentary Secretaries from persons who are elected members of the National Assembly or who are eligible to be elected as such members. ”
Earlier this month the Coalition won a similar case in the Demerara High Court. Acting Chief Justice Roxane George ruled that the appointment of the Minister for Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond, was unlawful.
The Chief Justice also gave another statement stating that Walrond was not a legitimate member of Guyana’s 12th Parliament when he was sworn in on September 1, 2020. In November, Jones contacted the High Court to request a statement for Walrond to move away at her. a seat in the National Assembly, which they claimed was illegally occupying. During the commencement of the virtual hearing held Dec. 10, Attorney General Nandlall admitted that the government acknowledged that Walrond’s appointment may have conflicted with the Guyana Constitution, as she was still a United States of America citizen when she took the oath to become minister and a senator.
However, Nandlall said the government had already taken the necessary steps to remedy that breach by having Walrond re-sworn in as a miner on December 1, 2020, by President Dr. Irfaan Ali. At the next practical sitting of the National Assembly, he will be sworn in as an MP.
The Chief Justice allowed the application and declared that Walrond, an attorney, was not a legitimate member of the 12th National Assembly of Guyana’s Parliament and had not been legally appointed as a minister before December 1.
In light of Walrond reiterating his oath of office, the Chief Justice stated that he does not see the need for the Speaker of the National Assembly to prevent Walrond from sitting in or participating in the business of the National Assembly.