“Undemocratic!” That is how the leader of the Progressive Democratic Patriots(PDP) Farley Augustine, describes the move by the People’s National Movement (PNM)to remain in office without meeting to quickly resolve the 6/6 Tobago House of Assembly’s elections’ results impasse.
The two groups met in the Assembly Legislature, Jerningham Street, Scarborough, on January 28 to select a Presiding Officer so that the Assembly’s legislative arm could function.
Instead, they both nominated and seconded two different persons for the post. The PNM selected Ingrid Melville, while the PDP chose Julien Skeete.
After voting by secret ballots and publicly twice, there was an impasse.
Quoting from the THA Act #40 of 1996, the Clerk of the Assembly Merna McLeod said she was not prepared to go further matter.
However, Farley, quoting too from the Act said it made provision for the national constitution to take over where the THA Act fell short.
The clerk ended the session.
Speaking to reporters after the Assembly session, Farley said the PNM’s suggestion that it remains in charge of the administrative arm of the Assembly without seeking to resolve the impasse is “undemocratic.”
He said the PNM received only 22 more votes than it did in 2017, while the PDP received thousands more.
He said he intends to deliver a legal letter to the Assembly’s clerk to force her to reconvene the house and have the elected members cast ballots again.
He said it was “undemocratic” for the PNM to continue remaining in charge of the island’s resources without the legislative checks and balances that take place when the Assembly meets.
All 12 members were sworn-in earlier by President Paula-Mae Weekes at the Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf Course.
Reporter: Camille McEachnie