Joinder Agreement: Dr Asha Kissoon refusing to relinquish parliamentary seat – ANUG

– calls on her to “do the right thing”

TNM Leader Dr Asha Kissoon

A New and United Guyana (ANUG) has accused the Leader of The New Movement (TNM), Dr Asha Kissoon, of breaching the Joinder List Agreement after she refused to vacate her seat in the National Assembly, in keeping with provisions of that deal.
On March 2, 2020, ANUG, TNM and the Liberty and Justice Party (LJP) put into effect a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in which they agreed to merge the votes earned by them, if sufficient to take a seat in Parliament, and to share a rotational occupation of that seat in Parliament in proportion to the votes earned by each.
The result of the election was that LJP and ANUG, each with more than 2200 votes, would occupy the single seat won by the merger for the majority of the time, while TNM, with 244 votes, was entitled to occupy the seat for 91 days.
Since the Constitution of Guyana provides for the removal of a Member of Parliament only by his resignation or by his removal by the Representative of his party’s List, ANUG has said it is clearly understood that the MoU was based on trust and integrity, since removal would not be enforced in court.
“The three parties would have to trust each other,” ANUG noted in a statement on Saturday.

ANUG Chairman Kian Jabour

After the 2020 Election, LJP leader Lennox Shuman took occupation of the single merger seat, which he held for two and one-half years before honouring his commitment and resigning.
It has been explained that since TNM was allocated only a few months by virtue of the MoU, and was at risk of being kept out of Parliament altogether in the event that an early election was called in 2025, ANUG offered to permit the TNM to take the seat for the allotted period immediately after Schuman demitted.
That seat was occupied by Dr Kissoon, who was sworn in as a Member of Parliament in April 2023. Based on the MoU signed, the TNM Leader should have resigned from the National Assembly in November 2023.
“However, Dr Asha Kissoon has now held that seat for more than twice her permitted allocation under the arrangement of trust set out in the Memorandum of Understanding. She has so far refused to relinquish her seat, and remains in possession of the seat as a Member of Parliament against the will of the electorate as a result of her breach of trust, and has not committed in writing to ANUG to any timeline whatsoever to demit office,” the party detailed in its statement.
According to ANUG, Dr Kissoon on one occasion had indicated a “verbal and informal promise” to vacate the seat on February 29, 2024 – three months late, and has now apparently breached that commitment.
“A New and United Guyana calls on Dr. Asha Kissoon to do the right thing,” ANUG stressed. The party further stated, “It is regrettable that such circumstances have arisen, further undermining the confidence of the Guyanese people in third parties. ANUG reaffirms its commitment to integrity and transparency.”
When she was sworn-in as a parliamentarian last year, Dr Kissoon was also elected as Deputy Speaker. She replaced Shuman, who served as both Opposition MP and Deputy Speaker for over two years.
At the March 2020 elections, the number of votes secured by the three joinder parties was: 2657 by LJP – the most votes secured; while ANUG and TNM obtained 2313 and 244 votes respectively.
Based on the joinder agreement, each party would occupy the shared seat for a specific period. The stipulated duration of the terms each party would hold the seat are: two years, six months, and 20 days for the LJP; while ANUG would serve for two years five months, and TNM for 80 days. The three parties had previously committed to acting as a broker between the Government and the main Opposition.
The process for replacing an MP involves the National Assembly writing to the head of the party list to whom the seat belongs, once its occupant has submitted a formal resignation. The head of the list is tasked with informing the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) which party candidate’s name to extract and submit to the National Assembly.
Back in January this year, ANUG had identified its representative to take up the parliamentary seat in the person of Althia King – an active ANUG member since 2019. King had participated in the run-up to the 2020 General Elections as well as in the recount process.
King has served on the Executive Board of ANUG for four consecutive years, engaging in humanitarian projects for youths, in outreaches, and in other activities across various regions in Guyana. She was described by the party as “people-centric and results-oriented.” (G-8)