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Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George will next Tuesday (April 20) rule whether the appointment of People’s Progressive Party/C (PPP/C) Parliamentary Secretaries Sarah Browne and Vikash Ramkissoon is in breach of the Constitution.
Opposition Chief Whip, Christopher Jones, in December 2020, had moved to the High Court to have Browne and Ramkissoon removed as Parliamentary Secretaries on the grounds that their appointments are unconstitutional and on that basis, 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.
When the matter came up before the Chief Justice in the High Court on Tuesday, the Attorney General Anil Nandlall, S.C argued that the two Parliamentary Secretaries were appointed, though their names form part of the PPP/C List of Candidates in the General Elections.
Senior Counsel Roysdale Forde, who is the lead attorney representing Jones, submitted that Browne and Ramkissoon could not have been appointed to the House due to the fact that their names were on the PPP/C List of Candidates.
Forde told the Court that there are no provisions in the Constitution, which permit a person who was not extracted from a List of Candidates, though on a list, to be appointed Parliamentary Secretary.
Forde also argued that the case fell within the principle decided by the late Chief Justice Ian Chang and affirmed by the Court of Appeal, which states that appointed Members of the National Assembly can only enter the House if they were qualified.
The Attorney General, on Tuesday, asked the Court for two additional days to present authorities to support his arguments. He has up to today to do so while Forde is expected to respond by Thursday.
The case has been adjourned to Tuesday, April 20, 2021 for decision.