Nicolette’s resignation takes effect March 31; complains of being side-lined
By Kurt Campbell
Former Education Minister Dr. Nicolette Henry has confirmed the submission of her written resignation as an Opposition Parliamentarian which takes effect until March 31, 2022, delaying Aubrey Norton’s chance of getting to Parliament until April.
Speaking to the News Room via telephone on Monday, Dr. Henry said the formal document was submitted last Thursday (February 03), one day after she announced her resignation publicly while delivering her contributions to the 2022 budget debates.
“When I delivered my budget presentation, I said it was my last presentation and I indicated my resignation since that would have been my last opportunity. It was just an indication but I have since followed the Constitution and submitted it [the written resignation] to who it needs to be submitted to,” Dr. Henry explained.
The resignation, however, does not take effect until March 31, 2022. Henry said the resignation was submitted to the Representative of the List, former President David Granger.
Asked about her continued participation in the National Assembly between now and March 31, Dr. Henry said she will participate to the extent that it is feasible to do so.
“I will make my contributions to the extent that I can do so like any other situation,” she told the News Room.
Meanwhile, in a WhatsApp group for opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) at the weekend, Dr. Henry reportedly wrote: “I am tying up some loose ends as you would imagine.”
But although she wished the other Opposition MPs all the best in the consideration of the budget estimates this week, she complained of being side-lined amid efforts to silence her.
“As you are aware, the day I was required to speak in the budget debates, efforts were made to deny me from speaking. For reasons of confidentiality and other sensitivities, I will not be sharing the details of ALL that transpired in the group chat,” Dr. Henry reportedly told her colleagues in the group chat.
In that same message, the former Education Minister claimed that since announcing her resignation as a Parliamentarian, she was immediately removed from other party associated WhatsApp groups.
“To that person who has started to remove me from the various WhatsApp groups, may I ask you to remove me from this group and ALL other communication platforms as my schedule will not allow me to pay attention to the parliamentary work of this group,” Dr. Henry reportedly wrote before wishing the entire team well.
Interestingly, Henry’s resignation is to make way for Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNC/R) Aubrey Norton to enter Parliament. He became leader of the Party in December 2021 and has received the support of the Central Executive Committee of the PNC/R to go to Parliament and become Opposition Leader.
But now that the seat will only become vacant until March 31, it means that no one else will be able to make an entry into Parliament for the APNU+AFC until that time.
Granger, as the Representative of the list, will have to extract a name and notify the Guyana Elections Commission.
Political observers say that although Granger is in a difficult position and may very well have to extract Norton’s name, that doesn’t mean he cannot extract another name.
In any event, once GECOM receives the name, it will then be sent to the Speaker of the National Assembly for that person to be sworn in as a Member of Parliament.
Then, all the Opposition MPs will have to select an Opposition Leader.
Two weeks ago, Joseph Harmon who lost the PNC/R leadership elections to Norton last December, resigned from the post of Opposition Leader under mounting pressure.
Harmon, however, remains an MP and has refused to give up that post altogether.
Once sworn in, Norton will become the leader of the PNC/R, the A Partnership for National Unity and Opposition Leader.
The Stabroek News reported Monday that PNC/R Elders will meet this week to help craft a solution to the crisis that has prevented Norton from entering Parliament more than two months after he was elected at the party’s biennial congress.