…as Clerk completes examination of motions against Harmon, Benn, Anthony
The No-Confidence Motion against Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon, as well as the ones Harmon himself filed against Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony and Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn, are currently being reviewed by Speaker of the National Assembly Manzoor Nadir.
This was confirmed when this publication made contact with Clerk of the National Assembly Sherlock Issacs on Monday. As per parliamentary practice, these motions were submitted to the Clerk to ensure they did not “offend the standing orders” as he had indicated when he received them last week.
According to the Clerk, he has already forwarded them to Speaker of the National Assembly Manzoor Nadir, who will have the final say on whether they will be heard. It is expected that the Speaker will soon pronounce on the matters.
Harmon had filed motions against Ministers Anthony and Benn last week, calling for their resignations over what he claimed was their poor running of their Ministries. His motion against Dr Anthony was seconded by former junior Health Minister Dr Karen Cummings, while his motion against Benn was seconded by shadow Home Affairs Minister Geeta Chandan-Edmond.
The APNU/AFC contended that the management of the spread of COVID-19 has been woeful and confirmed COVID cases and deaths are “spiralling out of control.”
The Government side, through Prime Minister, Retired Brigadier Mark Phillips, filed a No-Confidence Motion against Harmon the very next day. According to the NCM prepared by Phillips, he is demanding Harmon’s immediate resignation from the position of Leader of the Opposition.
The NCM cites several grounds for Harmon’s removal, starting with his role in the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change’s (APNU/AFC) desperate fight to stay in power after losing the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections.
Phillips also contended that the Opposition Leader “recklessly misinformed the public and the National Assembly” when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine, its efficacy, and its acquisition by the Government.
This is a reference to Harmon’s recent campaign against the Government’s acquisition of Sputnik V vaccines, during which he even called for a halt to the distribution of the vaccine. According to Phillips, Harmon’s actions endangered lives and increased vaccine hesitancy among an already vulnerable population.
“And Whereas the Leader of the Opposition opportunistically used the horrific murder of the Henry youth from West Coast Berbice as a means to incite ethnic disharmony. And Whereas the Leader of the Opposition has consistently denigrated the representative of the joiner parties, Mr. Lenox Shuman, Deputy Speaker, as a legitimate member of the parliamentary opposition, even going so far as to deny him holding an opposition seat on any parliamentary committee. BE IT RESOLVED that this House expresses its lack of confidence in the Leader of the Opposition and calls for his immediate resignation,” Phillips said in his motion.
At present, the configuration of the National Assembly sees the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) with the parliamentary majority of 33 out of 65 seats. APNU/AFC, the main Opposition party, has 31 seats, while the Liberty and Justice Party (LJP), in collaboration with two other parties, holds one. (G3)