[www.inewsguyana.com] – In response to a letter written to him by Alliance for Change Executive Moses Nagamootoo, Clerk of the National Assembly Sherlock Isaacs has clarified that the Parliamentary Opposition cannot ask him to convene a Sitting of the Assembly; explaining that only the Government can make such a request or the Speaker, in accordance with Standing Order No. 8(2).
Nagamootoo had written to the Clerk last week demanding that the no confidence motion against the government be debated on October 16.
According to Isaacs, the Standing Order is clear and there is no need to seek legal advice on the matter.
Isaacs says he is of the view that the Opposition can only convene a Sitting of the Assembly if it is represented to the Opposition by the government that the public interest requires that the Assembly meet on a day earlier than that to which it was adjourned; or if the Opposition is of the opinion that the public interest requires that the Assembly should meet on a day earlier than that to which it stands adjourned.
“With respect to your question, that is, whether in the present circumstances you have the discretion to fix a date for the next Sitting, the answer, in my opinion, is no. You can only fix a date for a Sitting when the Assembly is adjourned to a specified date,” Isaacs explained.
The Clerk recalled previous requests by the Opposition Parties [on one occasion the PNC and the other occasion the PPP] for Sittings, which were denied.
“Notwithstanding the above, if you insist that legal advice be sought, same will be done,” Isaacs said.
The AFC is upset that since the end of the parliamentary recess on October 10, a date for the first sitting is yet to be set. AFC says it wants to move ahead with its no confidence motion against the incumbent and is insisting that it be given priority above all other business.
Isaacs told iNews yesterday, shortly after the anticipated meeting of the Parliamentary Management Committee,that no date has been set. It was expected that a date would have been set during the meeting.
According to Isaacs, the government and Opposition Chief Whips have been asked to meet at the earliest time to decide on a date for the first sitting.