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Opposition asks High Court to boot Jagdeo from National Assembly, cabinet

Last Updated on Friday, 9 February 2024, 8:04 by Denis Chabrol

APNU+AFC parliamentarians Tabitha Sarabo-Halley and Christopher Jones

Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo declined to respond to questions surrounding his “prolonged absence” from sittings of the National Assembly, after two opposition parliamentarians filed a court case to press for the top government parliamentarian to be removed from the House.

“That’s a matter for the Speaker and we’ll respond accordingly,” he told a news conference on Thursday shortly information circulated about the lawsuit that was filed through lawyer , Roysdale Forde, who is also a parliamentarian for the People’s National Congress Reform-led A

Attorney-at-Law Roysdale Forde

Partnership for National Unity, the major grouping in the opposition coalition.

Mr Jagdeo also remarked that “APNU really wants to get me out of everywhere now. APNU really hates me with a passion.”

The plaintiffs, Opposition Chief Whip Christopher Jones and Tabitha Sarabo-Halley, contend that Mr Jagdeo was absent from more than six consecutive sittings within the first session 2020- 2024. The respondents are House Speaker Manzoor Nadir and Attorney General Anil Nandlall.

“Good governance relies heavily on the active participation of all elected officials,” they said.

They argued that Mr Jagdeo breached Articles 54 and 156 1 (b) of the Constitution of Guyana and Standing Order 106 (2) of the Standing Orders of the National Assembly of Guyana that provide that a seat of a Member of the National Assembly shall be vacated if a member is absent from for more than six  consecutive sittings of the National Assembly and within a period of no longer than two calendar months.

Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo.

The Application states that Bharrat Jagdeo was absent for 11 consecutive sittings of the National Assembly from 11th December, 2023 to the 1st February, 2024. 

Mr Jones and Ms Sarabo-Halley are urging the High Court to declare that Mr Jagdeo has vacated his seat by virtue of his absences and as a result ceases to be a Cabinet member, and hold the offices of Vice President and a government minister.

“The application seeks to uphold the Constitution of Guyana and to secure the integrity of the parliamentary system, in our beloved country- Guyana,” they said in a statement through their lawyer. 

Mr Jagdeo recently said that he declined to speak during the debate on the 2024 National Budget because of the quality of the presentations from the opposition.