By Aabigayle McIntosh
Another member of the legal fraternity is weighing in on the matter surrounding the resignation of St Mary’s South Member of Parliament Kelvin “Shugy” Simon, saying it is a done deal.
This is despite the determination by Speaker of the House Sir Gerald Watt that Simon failed to meet the criteria as established by the Constitution and therefore it is ‘Constitutionally deficient, a nullity and of no legal effect’.
He also stated that Simon would have to submit a second letter following certain provisions including disassociating himself from the party that he is associated with.
US-based Attorney-at-Law Beverly Benjamin George insisted that the Constitution of Antigua and Barbuda is very clear on the issue of resignation and as far as she is concerned the matter is a done deal.
“My resignation is effective once I give it to you. It does not say anything about you receiving it, it does not say anything about you rejecting it, it does not say anything about you opining on it. It says once you receive it’s done,” George said during a radio interview.
She also stressed that the country’s constitution does not indicate one giving a reason for submitting a letter of resignation.
“I did get a copy of the Speaker’s letter and I noticed that it made reference to section 41 1 (A). I just can’t imagine that the speaker would make a comment or a reference that seems to have no connection to the situation,”
Section 41 of the constitution, the lawyer said is entitled tenure of seats of members of the house.
Tenure is the period with which something is held, George said.
She said that particular section is defining the period that a member of the House, holds on to the seat and when they do not.
That section reads” Every member of the House shall vacate his, seat in the House-. at the next dissolution of Parliament after he has been elected; i. if he ceases to be a citizen; ii. if he is absent from the sittings of the House for such period or periods and in such circumstances as may be prescribed in the rules of procedure of the House; iii. subject to the provisions of subsection (2) of this section, if any circumstances arise that, if he were not a member of the House, would cause him to be disqualified from election as such by virtue of section 39(1) of this Constitution; or iv. if, having been elected to the House by virtue of being a member of a political party, he resigns his party whip and withdraws his allegiance from that party”.
“The speaker is someone who has been around for a very long time, he is very experienced and I don’t think he would just issue excited utterances. We have to lift the hood and really look clearly to determine his true intentions,” George continued.
She was also asked directly whether the Speaker has any authority to accept or reject a resignation to which she replied “No”.
Asked what should be Simon’s next step she stated, “There is nothing for him to do just tell the speaker to have a nice day and keep it moving”.