Home Letters Serious questions for a reconvening of Parliament
Our 11th Parliament may best be at an end whatever the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) may yet rule on the majority that would have been required for the successful passage of the No-Confidence Motion (NCM) last December. A number of potentially difficult questions are now before us beyond the question of the majority required. We may be in a puddle that is of our Government’s own making.
The coalition Government raised two questions on whether the vote of Charrandas should even have been recognised (which would have left the vote as a tie, 32-32, and the NCM not carried). On the question of dual citizenship, in my understanding of a not learned fellow, the Chief Justice’s (CJ) ruling which I understand still stands – the CJ ruled that persons with dual citizenship should not have been eligible to be on nomination lists, should not have been selected and should not be sitting in Parliament. However, being there and to that time not knowing, Mr Charrandas’s vote was valid when cast, but would not be valid at any subsequent voting.
With respect to dual citizens now in our Parliament, I understand that before the CJ’s ruling there was no thinking that their continued sitting could have been challenged. They could have been removed by petition from the opposing side, but within six months of becoming an MP – that time is long gone. Now, it may at first seem that they can be removed only by their own resignation or by the representative of their List notifying the Speaker of the party’s withdrawal and replacement of such dual citizens. Even so, we must sense now, strong moral questions before the dual citizen MPs themselves, but not only them, before their leaders and the representatives of their Lists also.
However, there is now the CJ’s recent declaration and it being acted upon – enforced.
Further, my understanding of the CJ’s rulings raises questions, now that we all know, whether the vote of a dual citizen continuing to sit in Parliament should hereafter be counted.
Editor, fellow citizens have raised in their letters, the question of whether we Guyanese being what we are, should not find certain years of residency sufficient and ignore dual citizenship? A good question but one if widely enough accepted is a question for the next or the next after Parliament, where a coming together for a two-thirds majority in Parliament might suffice.
Meetings, sometimes of bodies and minds, cannot be escaped.
Samuel AA Hinds
Former President and
former Prime Minister