Contrary to claims made by opposition leader Bharrat Jagdeo that the Speaker of the National Assembly cannot reverse a Vote of No Confidence, Dr. Barton Scotland explained yesterday that the speaker has the power to revisit any ruling and has the power to reverse them, if after his review he has determined that any of such rulings cannot stand.
Dr. Scotland who holds a Doctors of Laws degree and is internationally respected in many quarters for his legal reasoning, contends that the power to reverse the No Confidence Motion is undoubtedly in his hands.
But after citing several legal principles, an unconvincing line of argument made by the government as it relates to their request to reverse it, and several legal precedents, Dr. Scotland, an APNU-AFC nominated Speaker, refused the government’s request to reverse the motion.
Stating that the Vote of No Confidence still stands, Dr. Scotland contended that outside of the first grounds pertaining to what constitutes a parliamentary majority (33 or 34) in a 65 Member National Assembly, the government was forcing him to take up a judicial responsibility to interpret the intents of several other sections of the constitution, which is a matter for the judiciary and not him.
As such, Dr. Scotland made it clear to Attorney General Basil Williams SC, who represented the government’s arguments before the house, that he was not convinced that there are enough legal or other reasons to reverse the Vote of No Confidence, neither can he entertain any request to interpret the law within the realms of the National Assembly.