Ruling on challenge against appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries set for April 20

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Sarah Brown and Vickash Ramkissoon

The High Court has set April 20, 2021 to deliver its ruling on the right of Parliamentary Secretaries to sit in the National Assembly – following a challenge that was filed by the Opposition APNU/AFC.

The challenge was filed three months after the appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries Vickash Ramkissoon and Sarah Brown.

The matter came up for hearing earlier today before Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George.

Arguments were put forward by Attorney for the applicant, Senior Counsel Roysdale Forde, Attorney General and Senior Counsel Anil Nandlall, and Manoj Narayan, who represented the Speaker of the National Assembly.

It is understood that APNU/AFC wants the High Court to issue an order directing Speaker of the National Assembly Manzoor Nadir to prevent the two from sitting in the National Assembly as Parliamentary Secretaries.

The appointment of the Parliamentary Secretaries was made on September 15, which was day two of the budget debates. Brown, who was the Region One Vice Chairman, was appointed to assist Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai while Ramkissoon was appointed to assist Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha, in discharging his duties.

At the time, this publication had interviewed Government Chief Whip and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Gail Teixeira, who had explained what the appointments mean and the fact that they are not a breach of the Constitution but rather, provided for in the constitutional reform process.

Joseph Hamilton, who is the current Minister of Labour, is a former Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Health. Sukhai, on the other hand, previously served as a Parliamentary Secretary in the very Ministry she now heads.