The Court of Appeal has rejected an appeal from the UNC challenging the decision of a High Court judge to dismiss one of its six election petitions due to an administrative error.
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Confusion over Roberts’ resignation
The House Speaker, who has to be informed of Anil Roberts’ intention to resign from the D’Abadie/O’Meara seat, has not received any such resignation letter.
A Parliament spokesman confirmed this after Roberts wrote Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar Thursday stating that he wished to inform her of his “desire to resign as Sport Minister and also as D’Abadie/O’Meara MP with immediate effect.”
The PM announced she had accepted Roberts’ resignation as minister and that appointment was revoked by the acting President on Thursday.
But People’s National Movement (PNM) PRO Faris Al-Rawi pointed out that the PM in her announcement had not mentioned Roberts’ resignation from the position of MP.
“The fact there was confusion on the capacities of his resignation belies the Prime Minister’s assertion she took her time and spoke after careful thought.
If she had, the population wouldn’t now be in confusion on what has really taken place and the effect,” Al-Rawi added.
“We can’t do anything like appoint a coordinator yet, since it seems he’s the sitting MP until his letter is received by Parliament,” said COP general secretary Clyde Weatherhead.
He said he was not aware of any efforts to ask Roberts to reconsider resigning from the seat,.
United National Congress (UNC) PRO Rodney Charles said that was a decision for Roberts to make.
Parliament to meet Monday
A Parliament spokesman said that for Roberts’ resignation to be effective, they said under Section 49 (2) (a) the House Speaker had to receive communication from the MP in question and this would be read to the House.
When former PP MPs Jack Warner and Herbert Volney resigned from their respective Chaguanas West and St Joseph seats in 2013, their resignations triggered by-elections in those seats. But that does not apply in Roberts’ case since no by-election can be held after the fourth year of a term and general election is on the way.
House Speaker Wade Mark, in Barbados for a Parliamentary conference, is expected back today.
Parliament meets Monday to begin the last session of the current Tenth Parliament.
What the Law says
Constitution, Section 49 (2)(a) applicable in the case of the alleged resignation of Mr Anil Roberts.
49. (1) Every member of the House of Representatives shall vacate his seat in the House at the next dissolution of Parliament after his election.
(2) A member of the House of Representatives shall also vacate his seat in the House where—
(a) he resigns it by writing under his hand addressed to the Speaker or, where the office of Speaker is vacant or the Speaker is absent from Trinidad and Tobago, to the Deputy Speaker.
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