Speaker ready to fill Opposition vacancies by next sitting; PNC sends names to Granger for action
Speaker of the National Assembly Manzoor Nadir on Monday said he is ready to have the two vacancies on the Opposition side of the House filled as early as the next sitting of the National Assembly.
But that will depend on how quickly the APNU+AFC Coalition submits those names to the Speaker.
“If the names reach me before the next sitting of Parliament those persons will be sworn in,” the Speaker said.
Nadir could not say on Monday when the next sitting of the National Assembly will be, but confirmed that he has written to former President David Granger as the Representative of the List, notifying him of the vacancies.
Granger has not yet responded and Nadir has made it clear that regardless of how long it takes, that is not his concern.
“I haven’t received back anything from the Representative of the List.”
“In terms of how long it takes or how short it takes, that’s not our business,” Nadir said while speaking to the News Room from his Chamber at Parliament Buildings, Brickdam, Georgetown.
Nicolette Henry resigned as an APNU+AFC Parliamentarian on February 03, 2022, but it took effect on March 31.
Meanwhile, Joseph Harmon first resigned as Opposition leader on January 26, 2022 under immense pressure to do so and later as a Member of Parliament with that resignation taking effect on March 15.
The News Room understands that with the two vacancies to be filled by the People’s National Congress Reform (PNC/R) – the largest party in the APNU+AFC Coalition – two names have already been sent to Granger as the persons to fill the vacancies.
A usually reliable source said the two persons are PNC/R Leader Aubrey Norton and longstanding member and former Health Minister Volda Lawrence.
With those names decided on by the PNC/R’s Central Executive Committee and sent to Granger, he is expected to submit those names to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
Speaker Nadir said, “I have seen names proposed in the press, but I can’t work with the press.”
With the Speaker already notifying Granger of the vacancies, once he writes to GECOM, the electoral body is tasked with certifying that the recommendations are persons who can rightly be deemed elected officials and declare them in correspondence to the Leader of the List to be duly elected and can be sworn in.
The Representative of the List is expected to inform the Speaker of GECOM’s declaration after which the persons can be sworn in.
If Norton passes this stage, he is tipped to become the next Leader of the Opposition. Norton is not only Leader of the PNC/R, but he is also the Chairman of the APNU – a position he took up in February after Granger resigned.
The Speaker is also expected to convene a meeting of all Opposition MPs after the vacancies are filled at which time a new Opposition Leader will be selected.
“That can happen minutes after we conclude the sitting where the new MPs are sworn in,” Nadir assured.
Nadir says he now awaits correspondence from Granger.