THINGS continue to heat up at the People’s National Congress/Reform’s (PNC/R) Congress Place, Sophia headquarters ahead of their upcoming biennial congress as Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon is confident he would not be removed from that position even though the Constitution says otherwise.
Speaking as a guest on Benschop Radio (107.1FM), Harmon confidently declared he could not be removed from his public office even if he were to lose the race for Leader of his party. A snippet of that video has been making the rounds on the social media platform, Facebook.
Harmon said: “I am the current Leader of the Opposition in Guyana. And that there is some rumour going around that if somebody else wins, they could remove me.
“But I just want to make clear that the Constitution is very clear about that. That the Leader of the Opposition could only be removed at the next elections of the country. The next General and Regional Elections. He can’t be removed any other way”.
One of Harmon’s contenders, Aubrey Norton, was asked by this newspaper about the comments made by Harmon, who is a lawyer by profession. Norton, however, said he did not want to speak to the matter at this time.
Article 184 of Guyana’s Constitution outlines how someone is elected and removed from the position of Opposition Leader of the National Assembly of the Parliament of Guyana.
In that provision, the members of the National Assembly who are not part of the government must elect the Opposition Leader through a vote held at a meeting which the Speaker of the National Assembly would chair.
There are a number of ways someone may be removed from the National Assembly, according to the Constitution which could also affect their assumption of the Office of Opposition Leader.
However, Article 184 also includes a no-confidence provision specifically for removing the leader of the opposition.
The provision reads: “Where one-third of the non-governmental members of the Assembly represent to the Speaker that the Leader of the Opposition no longer enjoys their confidence, the speaker shall call a meeting of all the non-governmental members at which it shall be decided whether the Leader of the Opposition shall be removed from office.”
The provision continues: “the removal shall be effected by the votes of a majority of all the non-governmental members”.
The PNCR’s 21st biennial congress is slated for December 11. Leading up to that major event for the party, some of its members have taken to social media to decry the divisive cultures that exists internally.
Just recently the party’s Central Executive Committee announced that three members of its Accreditation Congress Committee have resigned. These include Carol Smith-Joseph, Anette Ferguson, and Ganesh Mahipaul.
The statement from the party cited a conflict of interest as some of the committee’s members “are at the same time openly campaigning for candidates of their choice”. The Accreditation Congress Committee selects delegates eligible to vote for candidates, according to the party release.