BY EDWARD LAYNE
Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland on Monday upheld Justice Ian Chang’s decision, which declared that Citizenship and Immigration Minister Winston Felix and Minister within the Social Protection Ministry Keith Scott cannot sit in the House as non-elected members, since they were candidates on the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) List of Candidates for the May 11, 2015 General and Regional Elections.
At the commencement of Monday’s sitting which continued consideration of the 2016 Budget Estimates, Dr Scotland said while he was not officially served a copy of the High Court ruling, he is aware of it and believed it should be acted upon.
At the time when the Speaker made his declaration, both Felix and Scott were not in the House.
Attorney General Basil Williams told the National Assembly that the Government intends too, to obey the court order until it is discharged or set aside. “We will leave no stone unturned to return our brothers to the House,” he vowed.
Justice Chang’s contention is that while Government is allowed to name technocrat Ministers to sit in the National Assembly as non-elected members, those persons should not be on the candidates list for the party.
The ruling, described as one of the most historic in Guyana’s most recent political history, is as a result of a Motion filed by People’s Progressive Party (PPP) member Desmond Morian against Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Basil Williams and Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Barton Scotland, challenging the appointment of the two ministers, stating that they are illegally present in the National Assembly as technocrats.