Granger writes Speaker, Clerk on Nicolette Henry’s March 31, 2022 resignation

…“Ball is in APNU/AFC’s court” on electing Opposition Leader – Speaker

The ball is in the parliamentary Opposition A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change’s (APNU/AFC) court when it comes to electing a new Opposition Leader, since they need only write to the National Assembly indicating their readiness to proceed with the election.
This is according to Speaker of the National Assembly Manzoor Nadir, who in a brief interview with this publication confirmed that former President and Representative of the APNU/AFC list, David Granger, wrote him formally informing him of Opposition Member of Parliament Nicolette Henry’s resignation from Parliament.
It is understood that Henry submitted her resignation to Granger as leader of the list. However, Henry’s resignation does not take effect until the ending of March 31, 2022. But when asked by this publication if this will delay the process of electing an Opposition Leader, Nadir said not necessarily.

APNU/AFC List Rep David Granger

According to the Speaker, the ball is in APNU/AFC’s court to act when it comes to the election of an Opposition Leader. He said that “in such a case, the members of the Opposition would have to indicate (their readiness to proceed).”
After making her contribution to last week’s debates on Budget 2022, Henry, who had served as Education Minister under the previous APNU/AFC coalition Government, had announced it was her final presentation in the National Assembly.
It is anticipated that with a vacant seat now on the Opposition’s side of the National Assembly, People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) Leader Aubrey Norton would be sworn in as a Member of Parliament and take up the role of Opposition Leader that was left vacant by Harmon, who is still a parliamentarian.
Norton had revealed last month that the Central Executive of the PNC, which is the leading party in the coalition Opposition, wants him to take up the role of Opposition Leader. Despite refusing to step down initially, Joseph Harmon resigned from the post on January 26 but still remains an Opposition Member of Parliament.

Opposition MP Nicolette Henry

In light of this, Norton had been meeting with various PNC parliamentarians to convince one of them to resign so that he can enter the National Assembly. According to reports, Dr Henry had agreed to step down.
Meanwhile, it was also reported that the party is also talking to other MPs to resign in order to make way for members of the current PNC Central Executive to similarly join the National Assembly.
In coming to this decision, the PNC Leader had held a series of meetings with the various parties in the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) fraction as well as its Alliance For Change (AFC) coalition partner.
However, AFC Leader Khemraj Ramjattan has informed this publication that while his party will continue to meet with its coalition partner, the appointment of the new Opposition Leader is “exclusively” an APNU issue.

Speaker of the National Assembly Manzoor Nadir

Meanwhile, Opposition MP, Deputy Speaker Lenox Shuman, who is the representative of the joinder list which comprises of his party the Liberty and Justice Party (LJP) as well as A New and United Guyana (ANUG) and The New Movement (TNM), had also indicated previously that he would not be participating in that process to elect the new Leader of the Opposition.
Shuman currently occupies one seat in the 32-seat parliamentary Opposition, while the remaining are taken up by the APNU/AFC coalition. Nevertheless, Harmon’s resignation as Opposition Leader last month came one day after he had also stepped down as General Secretary of the APNU, while former PNC Leader David Granger has resigned as the party’s Chairman. The APNU Chairmanship has since been taken up by Norton.
The PNC Leader is also looking to take over as Head of the APNU/AFC List of Candidates – a position that is currently being held by Granger. For Norton to become the new Leader of the Opposition, Granger will have to give the greenlight. In the event that Granger steps down as Head of the List of Candidates, AFC’s Ramjattan will take his place. (G3)