GEORGETOWN, Guyana, June 6, 2021 - Following a vigorous protest by Guyana’s parliamentary opposition, the National Assembly is expected to meet on Thursday after a three month delay without honouring a High Court decision that the appointment of two Parliamentary Secretaries was not constitutional and that they should be removed from the National Assembly.
In a letter to House Speaker Manzoor Nadir, Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon pointed out that “Chief Justice (Ag), Roxanne George-Wiltshire, on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 declared the appointment of two People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) candidates Mr. Vikask Ramkissoon and Ms. Sarah Brown) as Parliamentary Secretaries unlawful by virtue of them sitting in the National Assembly as non-elected parliamentarians.”
The Opposition Leader asked the Speaker to correct the breach based on the Court ruling: “I therefore call on you to respect the ruling of the High Court and declare the seats of these two squatters vacant.”
However, instead of removing the two Parliamentary Secretaries Sarah Brown and Vikash Ramkissoon from the National Assembly, Attorney General Anil Nandlall on Thursday asked for a stay of the High Court’s decision.
According to the application, the government says “The Second and Third Named Applicants/Appellants have already been assigned important constitutional and parliamentary duties and without the interim protection of this Honourable Court, they will not be able to discharge those important duties and responsibilities, to the detriment of the public good and the people of Guyana whom they represent,” the affidavit says.
The application went further to say that “the Chief Justice erred and misdirected herself in law by failing to appreciate that although there are similarities, there are also differences in the constitutional regime pertaining to the appointment of Technocratic Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries.”
“In the circumstances, it cannot be disputed that the appeal filed herein is not only grounded in merit but raises fundamental issues of interpretation of the Constitution, as well as, issues integral to Guyana’s Parliamentary and Constitutional democracy,” states the affidavit.