Gov’t prepared to defend Benn, Dr Anthony against No-Confidence Motions

- Teixeira says MPs can only be removed using Recall Legislation

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By Kurt Campbell

The two No-Confidence Motions filed by the APNU+AFC Coalition Opposition against Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, and Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn will not succeed, according to Minister of Governance and Parliamentary Affairs, Gail Teixeira.

But even with the failure of the motions imminent given the government’s one-seat majority in the House, Teixeira, who is also the Chief Whip in the National Assembly, has said that the government Members of Parliament (MPs) are prepared to defend the performance of Benn and Anthony through a parliamentary debate.

On Tuesday, Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon delivered the motions to the Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs.

Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon (Photo: APNU+AFC/June 17, 2021)

“The APNU+AFC Coalition, in filing these No Confidence Motions, is acting on behalf of hundreds of thousands of Guyanese who have lost all confidence in the performance of these two incompetent ministers to perform their duties,” a statement from the Opposition Leader’s office noted.

Harmon believes that the management of the COVID-19 crisis in Guyana has been woeful and that crime in all forms is on an astronomical increase in Guyana.

But according to Teixeira, the motions are “absolute nonsense” as she noted that the government has not lost confidence in any of the two ministers.

Speaking with the News Room in the corridors of Parliament Buildings, Georgetown on Wednesday, the Chief Whip said even if the Speaker of the National Assembly, Manzoor Nadir decides that the motions meet the requirements of the Standing Orders and are sent to the House for a debate, it will “go nowhere further.”

She said it will definitely not see the removal of Benn and Anthony from the National Assembly, as she insisted that they will continue to serve at the parliamentary level at the pleasure of President Irfaan Ali and with the support of all government MPs.

“This isn’t how you remove a Minister,” Teixeira said.

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira (DPI photo)

Back in 2012, then Opposition Leader and now former President, David Granger had tabled a Motion of No-Confidence against government minister, Clement Rohee.

Although the parliamentary opposition had passed the motion using the one seat majority it held, Rohee continued to sit in the National Assembly. With the Opposition insisting on barring Rohee from participating in the business of the House, the No Confidence vote was challenged in Court.

Teixeira recalled that incident on Wednesday, reminding that it is only by using the Recall Legislation that a Minister of the Government can be removed.

“It’s only through that means,” she said.

Although the Recall Legislation prevents MPs from permanently crossing the floor, it also specifies how that person can be removed as an MP.

According to Teixeira, a MP can only be removed if that person has died, becomes incapacitated, mentally unfit or when the party they represent no longer has confidence in them.

The legislation states that only the political leader of a list of candidates that contested the general and regional elections can remove a MP after “meaningful consultation” at the party level; in this case, it would be the President, Dr Irfaan Ali, who can remove either Benn or Dr Anthony.

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