Norton, Lawrence could be sworn in as Parliamentarians next Wednesday


Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNC/R) Aubrey Norton and party stalwart Volda Lawrence could be sworn in as opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) at a sitting set for next Wednesday, April 13, 2022.

Chief Elections Officer Vishnu Persaud has confirmed that he has written to Speaker of the National Assembly Manzoor Nadir informing him that the two individuals are duly elected officials and can become Parliamentarians.

Persaud’s correspondence to Nadir follows a letter sent to him on Tuesday by former President David Granger as Representative of the List of Candidates for the APNU+AFC, informing him that the two names were extracted and should now be declared to be duly elected.

“I have responded accordingly to the Speaker as the Chief Elections Officer informing that these are the names extracted by the Representative of the List to fill the vacancies. I have so done,” Persaud told the News Room via telephone.

“Mr. Aubrey Norton and Ms. Volda Lawrence are duly declared Members of the National Assembly from the date hereof,” the letter to the Speaker noted.

Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Justice (retired) Claudette Singh will soon issue Certificates of Election in accordance with the provisions of the Representation of the People Act, Chapter 1:03 to Norton and Lawrence.

When the letter from Granger was sent to GECOM on Tuesday, officials there expressed concerns about the vast difference in his signature and were worried that it could have been faked.

The News Room understands that this was later clarified after Granger issued a statement confirming that he has two different signatures.

On Monday, Nadir had said that he was ready to swear in the two identified persons and fill the vacancies at the next sitting of Parliament.

According to an Order Paper published by Parliament on Wednesday, that sitting of the House is set for April 13.

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.

If all goes according to plans, Norton should also become the country’s Opposition Leader immediately after.

On Tuesday, he declined to say what his priority actions will be as Opposition Leader but indicated that with his entrance and that of Lawrence into the National Assembly, there will be changes to the current portfolios held by current APNU+AFC Opposition Members of Parliament (MPs).

Lawrence is touted as someone with experience and competence in accounts and finance who will complement the team of Opposition MPs.

Norton and Lawrence are replacements for Nicolette Henry and Joseph Harmon, who both resigned from the National Assembly.

Harmon became Opposition Leader after the results of the 2020 elections were declared but resigned in February 2022 from the post under immense pressure to do so.

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