Parliament Clerk, PPP clash over technocrat Ministers

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Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs
Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs

[www.inewsguyana.com] – Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs has dismissed concerns raised by the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) over the appointment of Technocrat Ministers to the National Assembly by theAPNU+AFC government.

Shortly before the opening of the 11th session of Parliament on June 10, the PPP in a press statement noted that Keith Scott, Sydney Allicock and Winston Felix should not be sworn in as Parliamentarians since they do not fit the criteria of being Technocratic ministers.

The PPP explained that they are all on the lists of candidates for Members of Parliament submitted to Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) by the Representative of the APNU+AFC Coalition list.

The PPP contends that articles 103 (3) and 105 of the Constitution and laws pronouncing on the eligibility of appointment of Technocratic Ministers do not confer Technocratic status on these three Ministers, already sworn in by President David Granger as Ministers.

But the Clerk of the National Assembly has clarified that this was not case adding that legal precedent has been set for such to happen.

“A Perusal of the People’s Representation Act (Cap1:03), and in accordance with practice an elected member can be defined as a person whose name was extracted from the lists of candidates and declared by the Guyana Elections Commission to be a Member of Parliament,” said Isaacs.

Isaac added that “it follows, therefore in my view that a person whose name is on the list and whose name was not extracted and declared by GECOM to be an elected Member, can become a non-elected Minister or a parliamentary secretary in accordance with Article 104 (3) of the constitution.

According to Isaacs, precedent for such to happen has already been set in the cases of the appointments of Ralph Ramkarran and Raphael Trotman as speakers for the ninth and tenth parliaments, respectively.

However, the PPP, in response to Isaacs says his advice is “clearly unsound, since as is known unextracted lists members are still recognized as elected members of the House and can be extracted and appointed as elected Members of Parliament at any time during the five (5) year term of the Parliament.”

According to the PPP, a judicial review of this situation is “clearly indicated.”

3 COMMENTS

  1. 1. The PPP’s interpretation of Articles 103 (3) and 105 may be on target if it can convince a judge that there is a difference between a technocratic minister drawn from civil society as opposed to a regular minister drawn from the List of Candidates. It will come down to interpretation, and if that is successfully argued, it will mean that the three List Candidates can remain ministers but not be classified as technocrats. Score an inconsequential win for the PPP.

    2. Now, on the Clerk’s point of a precedent being set with List Candidates Ramkarran and Trotman becoming technocrats when they were elected Speakers, that title is totally different from that of a cabinet minister. Cabinet ministers serve at the pleasure of the President; Speakers serve at the pleasure of the legislature. In fact, almost all Speakers are drawn from parties elected to the legislative body and can be reverted to MP status by a parliamentary majority vote, so they are are hardly technocrats in the strictest sense of the word.

    3. A List Candidate is not an elected House member, but a candidate for House membership should an opening come up, and they are selected by their party then sworn in. You must be sworn in to become a member; otherwise you are a candidate who is eligible.

    4. Now, let’s us get back to real issues of governance.

  2. Looking at the empty side facing the government benches, when the assembly members meet the next time, who will be listening to whom during parliamentary debates? Mockery of democracy

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