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Controversy surrounds court ruling…Rohee still cannot table bills as Minister of Home Affairs

Controversy surrounds court ruling…Rohee still cannot table bills as Minister of Home Affairs

JANUARY 14, 2013 | BY  | FILED UNDER NEWS 

 

 

- Basil Williams  

A Partnership for National Unity (APNU)’s shadow Minister of Legal Affairs Basil Williams, citing a section of the Chief Justice ruling, yesterday told Kaieteur News that the court’s ruling “maintains the status quo that currently exists in the National Assembly.

APNU shadow Minister of Legal Affairs Basil Williams

Williams explained that in his interpretation of the ruling, “Rohee can only speak as a Member of Parliament and not as a Minister.”
But Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall rebuffed Williams’ claim, stating that “Rohee can speak, full stop.”
He said that Rohee being a Minister “has nothing to do with it.”
The Parliamentary Opposition had used its one seat majority to move a no confidence motion against the Minister of Home Affairs.
The move saw Rohee being prevented from speaking in the National Assembly until the determination of the matter by a Special Select Committee.
This led to Attorney General Anil Nandlall moving to the court to have the Chief Justice rule on the issue.
The Chief Justice in his subsequent decision ruled that Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee has a constitutional right to speak in the National Assembly as an elected member, with his ministerial portfolio being of no relevance.
Williams said yesterday that the Chief Justice (CJ) struck out everything except one issue “1B and 3B pertaining to which he spoke about Rohee’s constitutional right to speak in the National Assembly.”
Williams quoted a section of the Chief Justice’s ruling which stated that “the legal truth is that Mr.Rohee can speak in the National Assembly only as a member of the National Assembly and not as the Minister of Home Affairs.”
This, Williams said, “maintains the status quo that currently exists in the National Assembly. The opposition had stated its position that Rohee can speak on any other matter but just not in his capacity of Home Affairs Minister.”

Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee

Also, Williams told this publication that the Chief Justice struck out numerous sections of the Notice of Motion filed by Attorney General, Anil Nandlall.
The lawyer said that “The Chief Justice struck out a section that called for the court to direct the Speaker of the National Assembly; he also struck out some other sections, In fact, the ruling only allowed section 1B and 3B of the Notice of Motion.”
Also, contacted yesterday APNU leader, David Granger, in whose name the most recent motion to gag Rohee was filed, said that he is confident that some of the information being disseminated is misleading “because the Chief Justice said that the court is not going to infringe on the rights of the Speaker of the National Assembly.”
However, it has been reported in sections of the media that the Speaker of the National Assembly is gearing to seek legal advice on the Chief Justice’s ruling.
Call for refocus
In light of all that has been floating around the political air, the Attorney General made a call for the Opposition to change its political posture and for all to refocus on the common objective.
“We have to regroup and refocus on what is our purpose in the Parliament; what objectives we want to achieve in the Parliament. If we want the Parliament to play political football then we will have these things ongoing. If we want to treat the Parliament with the seriousness it was conceivably designed to be treated with and to deal with matters of national importance, we will not have these kinds of clashes.”
Nandlall also reiterated that Rohee or any other Minister does not sit in Parliament based on the confidence of the Opposition and “only Ramotar has the power to remove any Minister. Let’s move on.”

Attorney General Anil Nandlall

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