The parliamentary Opposition – the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) – has the freedom to move a no-confidence motion against Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland if it believes he is not impartial.
This is according to former Clerk of the National Assembly, Frank Narain, speaking on the Opposition’s cries of biasness being displayed by the Speaker. He, however, pointed out that there was no guarantee that the no-confidence motion would be passed since the Government has a one-seat majority.
The Opposition, since taking up its seats in the National Assembly, has been criticising what it says is the partisan behaviour of Dr Scotland. It said the operations of the House had been drifting away from parliamentary norms.
On Monday, the Party walked out of Parliament, after the Speaker cut short the consideration of estimates for the 2016 National Budget. The Party said the move was “unfair”.
Speaking with Journalists moments after the walkout, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo said the instances of the behaviour in question, which has been occurring over time, are overbearing: “We have not on many occasions – when subject to extremely partisan behaviour on the part of the Speaker – voiced, or been vocal about this disagreement. Wehave respected his ruling in most of those occasions. But this is becoming overbearing.”
The issue that sparked the walkout was the Speaker’s decision to close off matters for the evening. It was just around 23:00h and during a time when the Opposition was posing questions regarding monies allocated to Amerindian communities.
The former Clerk of the National Assembly told a section of the media that the Speaker has the right to make decisions based only on the Standing Orders. He said, however, the Opposition had ways through which it could take action.
“They can bring a motion of no confidence in the Speaker,” he said. But this will most definitely cause some difficulties since Government has the majority.
He said the Speaker has the power to rule by the Standing Orders of the National Assembly.
“Generally, a Speaker is elected by the House and it is usual that the majority would elect him and it may be that the Speaker may want to side with the majority, who has put him there. The majority can also remove him. So he might be inclined at times to see with the majority. But he still has Standing Orders to be guided by,” Narain said. (Excerpts taken from Guyana Times)