ANUG calls on Dr Asha Kissoon to vacate parliamentary seat

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

…Parliament has “no power” to remove her – Clerk

A New and United Guyana (ANUG) on Tuesday called on the Leader of The New Movement (TNM), Dr Asha Kissoon to vacate her seat in the National Assembly, which was supposed to have been done since last November, calling her action undemocratic and a breach of trust.

According to the Joinder List Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), given the 244 votes garnered during the 2020 General and Regional Elections by TNM, it was entitled to occupy the seat for 91 days.

ANUG Chairman Kian Jabour indicated during a press conference on Tuesday that his party gave Dr Kissoon an opportunity to represent her constituents, but this has been met with mistrust.

Dr. Asha Kissoon

“Up to this point, we have gotten no word from Ms Kissoon on why this is occurring. The first situation I think we need to deal with is the reality of Ms Kissoon sitting in this seat being an undemocratic response. Ms Kissoon is not to be sitting in this seat at the moment. The votes that she has been allocated…only gave her 91 days in Parliament…At this point in time, unfortunately, [it] says a lot about her character and her trustworthiness,” Jabour voiced.

After the 2020 Elections, Liberty and Justice Party (LJP) Leader Lenox Shuman took occupation of the single merger seat before honouring his commitment and resigning.

ANUG had identified its representative to take up the parliamentary seat in the person of Althia King – an active ANUG member since 2019 – who outlined that the party would be deprived of the opportunity to represent its constituents.

“It is deprived, it is sad and most of all, it is disappointing that it even had to come to something like this. This is something very serious,” she lamented.

It has been explained that since TNM was allocated only a few months by virtue of the MoU, and was at risk of being kept out of Parliament altogether in the event that an early election was called in 2025, ANUG offered to permit TNM to take the seat for the allotted period immediately after Shuman demitted the seat.

Arrangement of trust

That seat was occupied by Dr Kissoon, who was sworn in as a Member of Parliament in April 2023. According to ANUG General Secretary Timothy Jonas, it was an arrangement of trust and it has been breached.

“This was something that you had to rely on a person’s integrity and their word…Lenox Shuman did the right thing and without fanfare or fuss, he demitted office…This is why it wasn’t a difficult decision to allow Dr Kissoon for that three months. This is the 32nd seat. This isn’t the all-important 33rd seat,” he reasoned.

Based on the joinder MoU, each party would occupy the shared seat for a specific period. The three parties had previously committed to acting as a broker between the Government and the main Opposition.

The process for replacing an MP involves the National Assembly writing to the head of the party list to whom the seat belongs, once its occupant has submitted a formal resignation. The head of the list is tasked with informing the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) which party candidate’s name to extract and submit to the National Assembly.

Meanwhile, when contacted on Tuesday, Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs told this publication that Parliament did not have the power to remove Dr Kissoon in the wake of these events.

“They don’t have power to remove her. The Head of her list can ask that she be removed, she could resign, if she’s found guilty in a court of law for some criminal offence and citizenship is another one. Things like that. But we cannot remove her otherwise,” he explained.

Dr Kissoon has not spoken on the issue, and efforts to contract her on Tuesday proved futile.