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Court rules that Rohee as an elected member of parliament can speak on behalf of the people who elected him – 11th Jan 2013

The opposition’s attempts to silence Member of Parliament, Clement Rohee, have been silenced by the Chief Justice. As far as the Chief Justice Ian Chang is concerned, Rohee is an elected Member of the House and in that capacity he can address matters of concern to the constituency that elected him.

In the opinion of the Chief Justice, it does not really matter whether Rohee is a Minister or not, Rohee has a right to speak on behalf of the people whom he was elected to represent.

The ruling today, that Parliamentarian Clement Rohee can speak in the House, in effect, has thwarted opposition efforts to gag the Home Affairs Minister.

Following the principles of law, Chang, in his ruling, noted that the emphasis by the Opposition in a no-confidence motion appeared to be on Rohee as Home Affairs Minister and not really as a Parliamentarian. So the Chief Justice came to the conclusion that Rohee was constitutionally an elected member of the National Assembly and was entitled to speak and his ministerial portfolio was immaterial.

Additionally, the Chief Justice decided that he was not going to deal with the issue of the House’s Privileges Committee. He explained that was because the Committee had not yet decided on the matter and more so, that was an internal matter under the regulation of the Speaker, Raphael Trotman.

The opposition parties both the APNU and the AFC have been adamant that Rohee should not be heard in Parliament since they moved a motion of no-confidence against him as Minister of Home Affairs. Rohee was cited by the majority opposition in the National Assembly for his performance during the Linden crisis that resulted in the death of three persons during a protest over electricity tariffs and other matters there.

This by the way, is the second court ruling in as many weeks that went against the majority opposition. Judge Diana Insanally recently ruled that there is no constitutional requirement that the Lotto Funds must be deposited into the Consolidated Fund and not into any other Fund.

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