by Linda Straker
- Franka Bernardine remains NDC party leader
- Appointment of Tobias Clement will not affect functioning of NDC party
- Leader of the Opposition has several parliamentary and constitutional roles
The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has told its supporters that the appointment of Tobias Clement as Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives will not affect the functioning of the party.
“The Office of Leader of the Opposition is very different from that of Leader of the Opposition Party. One is a Constitutional and Parliamentary office, the other is not. Therefore, nothing changes within the NDC. Sister Franka Bernardine remains our party leader,’ said a statement on the party’s Facebook page.
Providing clarity on the present political status of Clement who received his instrument of appointment from Governor-General, Dame Cecile La Grenade, on Tuesday, the statement which was issued to clear the air said that Clement is not a member of the NDC.
“Mr Clement has not joined us. He will now be an Independent Member of Parliament and perform his constitutional role. At the same time, we will continue to perform ours as the main opposition party,” said the statement, which was issued on Thursday, one day after Clement met with the media after he received his instrument.
Although the NDC received more than 20,000 votes during the 2013 and 2018 General Elections, it did not win a seat in the 15-member house and this prevents the party from having a seat in the House of Representatives or the Lower House of Parliament.
This automatically made the seat of Leader of the Opposition vacant. However, in December 2019 Clement, who is representing the constituency of St George’s North East, and serving as a backbencher for the government resigned from the party, and indicated he would consider filling the post.
The person holding that post has several parliamentary and constitutional roles including that of chairing the Public Accounts Committee and appointing 3 senators to represent him in the Upper House or Senate.
In his news conference, which was held using the virtual format of Zoom, Clement was cautious about disclosing his next political move. He said that since receiving his instrument of appointment, several persons have contacted him about establishing a political party.
“If I have to do anything it will be next year…small steps in going forward,” he said.
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