by Linda Straker
- Contribution to the 2020 Budget debate may be Ron Redhead’s last
- The senate shall consist of 13 appointed by the Governor-General
Ron Redhead, one of the senators appointed to represent the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Upper House of Parliament, has informed the members that his contribution to the 2020 Budget debate may be his last.
“Mr President, I just want to say that this may, in fact, be one of my last presentations. You know, you are aware of the situation in the Lower House,” he told the 13-member house while wrapping up his presentation. “Politics is a numbers game and it has its players behind the scenes, in front as well and it has its people, so anything can play.”
Section 24 of the constitution says that the senate shall consist of 13 who shall be appointed by the Governor-General. Seven shall be appointed by the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister; 3 shall be appointed by the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Leader of the Opposition; and 3 shall be appointed by the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister after the Prime Minister has consulted the organisations or interests which the Prime Minister considers the senators should be selected to represent.
Following the March 2018 General Election in which ruling New National Party (NNP) won the 15 seats in the Lower House, Governor-General, Dame Cecile La Grenade, invited the NDC to nominate 2 persons to the Upper House. Senators Redhead and Kerryne James were accepted and appointed. The third person appointed in accordance with the constitution guidance was former Member of Parliament for the Constituency of St George South, Glynnis Robert.
On 20 November 2019, Tobias Clement, who represents the people for the constituency of St George’s North East announced that he has resigned from the NNP but will continue to represent his constituency in parliament.
“I have been elected by the people of St George’s North East to represent them and it will remain that way. I don’t think our constitution speaks to recalling MPs like that,” Clement told the media as he walked out of the parliament on 20 November 2019, minutes after listening to Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell present the 2020 Budget.
“We do have at least 3 years to go and I will also consider becoming Leader of the Opposition. One might wonder if in this deposition is having an elected opposition in the country is it a bad thing or having an opposition to government is it a bad thing,” Clement said, advising he will be consulting with the constitution for guidance before he announces his next step.
Tobias can choose to remain as a government backbencher or take up the position of Leader of the Opposition which has been vacant since the 2013 General Election when the NNP won all 15 seats for a second time. If he takes up the Leader of the Opposition post, he will then have the right to appoint 3 persons to represent him in the Upper House and this will automatically revoke the appointment of the 3 who were appointed by the Head of State.