Leader of the Opposition David Granger says hospitalised former APNU parliamentarian Richard Allen made the decision to resign in light of his health issues and the importance of the consideration of the budget estimates.
Sections of the media have been reporting that Allen was forced out in order to allow the opposition parties to replace him and retain the one seat majority which is essential for their intent to cut the budget. The court has ruled that the parties cannot cut the budget, only approve or disapprove it.
“In his own words, he is not in a position in which he can give representation to his constituents and the budget is the single most important measure to be brought before the National Assembly in the financial year.
We are now in a stage which requires daily attendance and long hours of participation and I think he came to the conclusion that in his present condition he couldn’t deliver that quality of representation to his constituents,” Granger told reporters Tuesday night.
However, he did acknowledge that the National Assembly was a “matter of numbers” and added that if measures arose that required a full slate then they would prefer to have the numbers on their side.
Allen collapsed during last Thursday’s debate of the budget estimates and was rushed to the GPHC where he was reportedly diagnosed as suffering from hypertension. His seat was Wednesday filled by Region One representative Rennita Williams.
The young woman was welcomed by both sides of the House and Speaker Raphael Trotman with wishes for a successful stint in the Assembly but it remains unclear how long her stay will be.
When asked Tuesday night if her appointment was a permanent one Granger said that was not how they were currently looking at it.
“We regard Mr. Allen as the substantive holder of the post but we do not know because of the nature of his disability, we do not know how long he would be in that position.”
The APNU chairman said Williams was chosen as part of their plan to have a balanced slate with women and with an eye to getting more youths involved for the next elections as the older folks step aside.