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…APNU+AFC moves to court to have them removed
Opposition Chief Whip, Christopher Jones has moved to the High Court to have Sarah Browne and Vikash Ramkissoon removed as Parliamentary Secretaries over breached of the Constitution.
Jones, through a battery of lawyers led by Senior Counsel Roysdale Forde, filed a Fixed Date Application in the High Court on Tuesday, seeking a total of six declarations and orders intended to have Browne and Ramkissoon removed from the House on the basis that they are unlawful members of the National Assembly of the 12th Parliament of Guyana.
Jones, an A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Member of Parliament, is contending that because Browne and Ramkissoon were named on the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) List of Candidates, they could not have been constitutionally and lawfully appointed Parliamentary Secretaries, having not formed part of the 33 Members elected to served, on behalf of the PPP/C, in the National Assembly.
On September 15, 2020, Browne and Ramkissoon took the Oath of a Member of the National Assembly. Browne was appointed Parliamentary Secretary attached to the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs while Ramkissoon was appointed Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture.
In laying the grounds for his client’s application, Forde pointed out that both Browne and Ramkissoon were named on the List of Candidates presented by the PPP/C in accordance with the Representation of the People Act for the March 2 General and Regional Elections.
While arguing that Browne and Ramkissoon are not valid and legal members of the National Assembly, the Senior Counsel submitted that they were not validly appointed Parliamentary Secretaries. In doing so, he pointed to Articles 103 (3) and 186 of the Constitution, which outline the criteria for non-elected members of the House.
Article 103 (3) states: “Not more than four Ministers and two Parliamentary Secretaries shall be appointed by the President from among persons who are qualified to be elected as member of the National Assembly.”
Further Article 186 (1) states that “Parliamentary Secretaries may be appointed from among persons who are elected members of the National Assembly or are qualified to be elected as such members,” while section (3) adds that “a Parliamentary Secretary who was not an elected member of the Assembly at the time of his appointment shall (unless he becomes such a member) be a member of the Assembly by virtue of holding the office of Parliamentary Secretary but shall not vote in the Assembly.”
Further, Forde submitted that Browne and Ramkissoon were elected members of the National Assembly, having formed part of the List of Candidates submitted by the PPP/C but did not make up list of names extracted to take up seats in the National Assembly.
Forde said to date, Browne and Ramkissoon continue to be Members of the National Assembly and Parliamentary Secretaries in breach of the Constitution.