by Linda Straker
- Tobias Clement is a Member of Parliament with no ministerial portfolio
- His party membership is uncertain because he has not paid membership dues in months
- NNP convention highlight will be election of National Executive Officers
Roland Bhola, General Secretary of the New National Party (NNP), said that party is uncertain about Tobias Clement’s attendance at the 27 October 2019 annual convention of the party which will be held in the northern parish of St Patrick. “We expect all members to attend the gathering, but as of now, Mr Tobias’ membership in the party is uncertain because he has not paid his membership dues in months and has not submitted a resignation to us,” said Bhola.
Efforts to reach Clement proved futile as his phone went unanswered.
The constitution of the NNP requires all members to pay a monthly membership fee of EC$5. Failure to pay can result in suspension; after 6 months of non-payment that person can lose membership. However, the same constitution provides for the National Executive to waive the fee for a member who fails to pay, to continue his or her membership.
“As far as I am aware the executive has not made any decision about Mr Tobias’ membership in the party, but if you to look at the constitution of the party, at this present time he is in violation,” said Bhola. He could not confirm if the Member of Parliament for the St George’s North East constituency will be leading the support group to the convention.
Taking place under the theme “NNP continuing to build a strong and resilience Economy,” the convention at MacDonald College will involve a closed-door session for the delegates and observers, while the open session in the afternoon will be addressed by executive members and Political Leader Dr Keith Mitchell.
The main highlight of the convention is the election of National Executive Officers.
In an interview following the ceremonial opening of the Third Session of the Tenth Parliament, Clement admitted that there were issues between himself and the party, but did not provide details. “I will keep my next move close to my chest,” he told reporters.
Clement is one of two Members of Parliament who were elected to the House of Representatives as a candidate for the ruling New National Parliament with no ministerial portfolio. The other is Anthony Boatswain. The NNP won all seats in the House of Representatives in the February 2013 and March 2018 general elections. As a backbencher, Clement continues to hold his substantive post as an educator at one of the country’s universities.
He has often lamented in parliament about the monthly allowances assigned to MPs who are not serving as ministers of the cabinet. He believes that the EC$1,200 should be increased. He has also expressed concern about the lack of clear separation of powers in the management of parliamentary constituency offices and political party office.
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