Chief Justice declares appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries unlawful  

The appointments of Sarah Brown and Vikash Ramkissoon as non-elected Members of Parliament (MPs) and Parliamentary Secretaries to the Amerindian Affairs and Agriculture Ministries, respectively was on Tuesday declared unlawful by Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George, SC.

In delivering her judgment, Justice George noted that because Brown and Ramkissoon were both named on the successful List of Candidates (elected members) presented by the PPP/C for the March 02, 2020 General and Regional Elections, they cannot sit in the National Assembly as non-elected members.

The Chief Justice underscored that there are no provisions in the Constitution of Guyana or the law that states a person who was on a successful List of Candidates, but not extracted, can be appointed members of the National Assembly. Sitting as non-elected members, Brown and Ramkissoon were not allowed to vote, a situation similar to that of technocrat ministers.

“They cannot be elected members and non-elected members at the same time,” Justice George underscored, as she declared their appointments unlawful. It was Opposition Chief Whip, Christopher Jones who moved to the High Court in December 2020, challenging the appointments.

Jones contended that the appointments of Brown and Ramkisson were done in violation of the Constitution since they were sitting as both elected and non-elected members of the National Assembly. In this regard, Jones, though his lawyer Roysdale Forde, SC, asked the court to declare that Brown and Ramkissoon are not legal members of the National Assembly.

He further asked the court to declare that they were not validly appointed as Parliamentary Secretaries. Attorney General Anil Nandlall, SC, Speaker of the National Assembly Manzoor Nadir, Brown, and Ramkissoon were the named respondents in the application filed by Jones.

The Chief Justice awarded costs against them which is to be assessed if not agreed on.