[www.inewsguyana.com] – House Speaker Raphael Trotman has written to Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs, requesting him to fix a sitting for Thursday, November 6, 2014; explaining that this date will provide for the normal notice period for Members of Parliament to be notified and for arrangements to be made for all to be present.
The Speaker, who many have said has no authority to reconvene the House, said too that in terms of the Order Paper for the sitting, the Agenda as of July 10, 2014 will be used together with any additional matters that have arisen during the recess.
Trotman in a letter to Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, Opposition Leader David Granger and Alliance for Change Leader Khemraj Ramjattan reminded that at the recent meeting of the Parliamentary Management, it was unanimously agreed that the Government and Opposition Chief Whips would continue in their efforts to agree a date.
“Recent communication with the Whips, and pronouncements in the media attributed to both, clearly lend to the view that the positions are intractable and that the likelihood of a date been agreed upon soon, are unlikely,” Trotman said in his letter.
He believes “there is gridlock” and the country is faced with the untenable and unhealthy situation of the National Assembly not meeting since July 10, 2014.
“I am sure that you will agree with me that this cannot be allowed to continue any longer as there is no state of national emergency or otherwise that prevents the Assembly from not meeting. In fact, on the contrary, I make bold to say that there are myriad issues of national import that require our immediate attention.”
Trotman acknowledged that based on several opinions and standing Orders he has no authority as Speaker to call a sitting where there is no fixed date for the next sitting; recalling that on July 10the House was adjourned to “a date to be fixed”.
However, he feels that this cannot mean that the National Assembly cannot be convened unless by agreement; especially where such agreement appears elusive to even impossible.
“In this regard, I have found favour with the opinion rendered by the former Speakers of the National Assembly, which in effect states that the National Assembly shall meet “day by day”; unless otherwise decided by the National Assembly, and that as the Assembly automatically went into recess on August 10, 2014, so too did it automatically come out of recess on October 10, 2014. Therefore, the House should have been convened forthwith on the first working day thereafter.”
Trotman said it is his belief that and error was made when on July 10 the House adjourned to a “date to be fixed” and as such takes full responsibility.