Caribbean News Politics

Opposition leader confirms senate offer turned down

Leader of the Opposition Tobias Clement has confirmed that one of the persons recommended to represent him in the Upper House of Parliament turned down the offer after he submitted her name to the Office of the Governor General.

“She had agreed, but she sent me a text message on Wednesday night saying she now declined the offer,” Clement said when asked to confirm that Kerryne James, who was appointed as a senator by Governor-General Dame Cecile La Grenade following the 2018 general election will no longer be one of the three representing him in the senate.

James was one of two senators recommended by the National Democratic Congress to be appointed as a senator in the Upper House of Parliament following the 2018 general election in which an opposition was not elected.

The Constitution provides for the Governor-General to appoint three persons in the absence of an elected leader of the Opposition.

In December 2019, Clement who won the St George’s North East constituency as a candidate for the ruling New National Party resigned as a member.

He was a Government backbencher in the Parliament, but in March wrote the Head of State seeking to fill the vacant post of Leader of the Opposition.

His appointment automatically gave him the right to appoint three senators to the Upper House which made the previous appointees of Glynis Roberts, Ron Redhead and James null and void.

Clement said that he interviewed both James and Redhead who are executive members of the National Democratic Congress but decided to reappoint James.

“But I can tell she was under pressure since the announcement, I am convinced that because the NDC did not have their way, she was pressured and so she declined,” he said.

“I don’t have a political party and so this was my way of giving the NDC a voice in Parliament but now I realise they never missed an opportunity to to be heard in the Parliament,” said Clement who disclosed that he has a replacement for James.

“I was very conscious of the reality and what could happen so I had a plan B, if she declined or resigned after receiving the instrument of appointment and so I will write to the Governor-General informing her about the change in one of the names of the persons I have recommended,” he said.

Clement was confident that in the not to distance future all his three recommended senators will be appointed and be ready for the next sitting of the senate.

CMC

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