Gov’t now says resignation of Gov’t ministers not immediate

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President David Granger Wednesday morning stated that the resignation of the four Government ministers was not immediate and will take effect once the routine process for them to be replaced in the National Assembly takes effect.

“…the four ministers, Mr. Carl Greenidge, Mr. Joseph Harmon, Mr. Dominic Gaskin and Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine will remain ministers until the aforementioned (constitutional) processes are completed,” the President’s office stated.

In a statement Wednesday morning, the third on the issue in two days, the President chose to explain the usual routine process when someone chooses to vacate his/her seat or is removed from the House.

The four ministers will have to send their letters of resignation to the Speaker of the National Assembly and then at a sitting of the House, the Speaker will declare their seat vacant and then the new Parliamentarians will take their oath of Office. The next sitting of the House is scheduled for April 11.

On Tuesday, the President accepted the resignation of the Ministers; they now have to submit a letter of resignation as Members of Parliament to the Speaker.

The latest statement that the Ministers will remain in their roles until the Parliamentary process is at odds with one issued Tuesday night when the Government announced that Cabinet Ministers had assumed the role of the Ministers who had resigned. Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman was specifically announced as performing the functions of Minister of State. 

In the new statement, the President’s office said that no replacements for the Ministers have been decided on by the President.

The statement from the Government Tuesday night said “Cabinet is satisfied that the resignation of four ministers as Government Members of Parliament fully accords with the decision of the courts” and that “for the ensuing period, as is the usual practice, these portfolios would now be held by sitting members of Cabinet who previously acted for these ministers on leave or out of the jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, Wednesday’s statement added that three Government ministers from the Coalition APNU – Greenidge, Harmon and Roopnarine – will give up their foreign citizenship. Gaskin represents the AFC. 

Below is the Government’s explanation regarding how someone is removed and replaced in the National Assembly:

“Article 156 (1) (A) of the Constitution states that “A member of the National Assembly shall vacate his or her seat therein – if he or she resigns it by writing under his or her own hand addressed to the Speaker or, if the Office of the Speaker if vacant or the Speaker is absent from Guyana, to the Deputy Speaker.”

Further, Article 156 (3) says a member of the National Assembly elected on a List shall cease to be a member of the Assembly, if:

a.       He or she declares in writing to the Speaker or to the Representative of the List from which his or her name was extracted that he or she will not support the List from which his or her name was extracted;

b.       He or she declares in writing to the Speaker or to the Representative of the List from which his or her name was extracted, his or her support for another List;

c.       The Representative of List from which his or her name was extracted indicates in writing to the Speaker that after meaningful consultation with the Party or Parties that make up the List that the Party or Parties have lost confidence in that member and the representative of the List issues a written notice of recall to that member and forwards a copy of that notice to the Speaker.

Additionally, Article 156 (4) (a) says, “The Speaker shall declare the seat of a Member of the National Assembly vacant where –

a.       the Speaker receives a written declaration of the Member of the National Assembly as provided for in paragraph 3 (a) or (b);

b.       the Representative of the List issues a notice of recall as provided for in paragraph 3 (c).

 

The President reminded that the nomination of new members can be done only after the extraction of names from the National Top-Up list is approved by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).”

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