No approval for gov’t, opposition No Confidence Motions

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Six months after the filing of the No-Confidence motions against Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon and two sitting government ministers, Speaker of the National Assembly Manzoor Nadir Thursday confirmed that they will not be heard.

As such the motions will not be placed on the Order Paper and there will be no parliamentary debate.

“…they are not going to go on any order paper,” Mr Nadir said at a press conference.

The Speaker had delayed making a decision on whether the motions qualify for a debate and vote as he awaited the Attorney General’s advice. That process that was further delayed by the parliamentary recess.

Speaker of the National Assembly, Manzoor Nadir (Photo: DPI/February 24, 2021)

The two APNU+AFC opposition motions were filed against Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony and Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn. After these were filed, the government’s motion followed days later against Harmon.

Nadir said the two motions against government ministers “are governed by a case in the High Court which says that no-confidence motions should be brought against a government and not a minister.”

The Speaker also noted that he would not approve the no-confidence motion brought by the government against the opposition leader because “the Constitution is clear on how you appoint the Leader of the Opposition and the same process should be employed in disappointing the Leader of the Opposition.”

The Opposition had argued that the government’s motion is not permitted by the Constitution.

Article 184 (3) instructs that the removal of the Opposition Leader is effected when one-third of the non-governmental members of the National Assembly informs the Speakers that the Opposition Leader no longer enjoys their confidence.

The Speaker is expected to call a meeting of all non-governmental members where it shall be decided whether the Opposition Leader shall be removed from office. That Article further notes that the removal shall be effected by the votes of a majority of all of the non-governmental members.

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