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No salaries, no seats if PPPC does not submit names of would-be MPs

The Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) risks forgoing a portion of the salaries of its future Members of Parliament (MPs) if it remains delinquent on the submission to the Guyana Elections Commission of its list of MPs and boycotts the first sitting of the 11thParliamentnext Wednesday.  

Further, sustained refusal to take up the 32 seats it won in Elections 2015 could result in those seats being declared vacant.

This is according to Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs, who says that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has sent him the list of 33 MPs who will represent the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) + Alliance for Change coalition but that he is yet to receive the PPPC’s list.

“The Elections Commission sent me the list of APNU and AFC members. I am in possession of that. No mention was made of the members of the PPPC,” Isaacs said Thursday.

The Clerk explained that preparations have commenced for the payment of the persons whose names he has received, and that payment will commence once they are declared by GECOM to be MPs. As Isaacs is yet to receive a list detailing the PPPC MPs to-be he is unable to make preparations for payment to be made to its MPs.

“I’ll start paying salary and allowances from the date when they are declared” he said, while adding that “… those members who do not attend the first sitting I’ll stop paying.”

This means that even if the PPPC submits it names, but has its MPs miss sittings they will not be paid.

The PPPC has said that it is considering staying away from National Assembly once it is convened to protest what it has deemed the “rigging” of Elections 2015. Asked whether the party has given consideration to the possibility of lost wages though, PPPC General Secretary said “that is not a consideration, the major consideration is political.”

Also, when it was put to the General Secretary that refusing to sit in the National Assembly for an extended period of time could cost the party its seats he said “so what they going to do? Throw us out of the parliament?”

The names of the persons who will serve as the coalition’s MPs, though provided to Isaacs, have not been declared. Both the coalition and the PPPC have been tardy in the submission to GECOM of the names of persons who will serve as their MPs. This has prevented GECOM from publishing this and other information in the Gazette.

Rohee has said that the party intends submit its list of MPs but when this news outlet spoke to him today he could not say when the submission would be made. He also said that the party is still deciding whether it will attend the first and other sittings of the 11thParliament.

President David Granger has proclaimed that the first sitting of the 11thParliament will take placenext Wednesday. Thus, the longer the party takes to submit its list the more problematic the issue of salary will be. And, even if the list is submitted on time, but the named members do not turn up for the first sitting, their salary payments will be stopped.

Rohee has also said that the PPPC is considering whether non-participation in the 11thParliament, beyond staying away from the first sitting, for an undetermined period of time,” is a viable option. But Isaacs says the party maybe gambling with its seats.

“If you re declared and you do not attend six sitting of the National Assembly within 2 calendar months you lose your seat.”

The relevant provision is found in Standing Orders (SOs) of the National Assembly. SO 106 (2) says “If without leave of the Speaker obtained in writing before the end of the last of the Sittings referred to in this paragraph, any elected Member is absent from the Assembly for more than six (6) consecutive Sittings occurring during the same Session and within a period of not longer than two clear months, he or she shall vacate his or her seat in the Assembly under Articles 54 and 156 (1) (b) of the Constitution.”