Opposition leader muses about Clerk’s performance if no confidence motion is tabled in Parliament
Opposition Leader, Dr Godwin Friday speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, July 2
News
July 28, 2023
Opposition leader muses about Clerk’s performance if no confidence motion is tabled in Parliament

Opposition Leader, Dr Godwin Friday is standing firm in his objection to the appointment of Deborah Charles to the post of Clerk of the House of Assembly.

At a press conference on Wednesday, July 26, Friday reiterated the concerns he first raised in Parliament earlier this month.

He said the appointment of Charles has been “condemned in many quarters, yet still remains in effect”, adding he believes the conflict of the Clerk’s political affiliation to the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) raises questions about her ability to function as expected in the face of a no-confidence motion.

Deborah Charles to the post of Clerk of the House of Assembly

“When a motion of no confidence is made in the House, the Speaker is required to see that the House meets and disposes of the motion. If the Speaker does not do so in 21 days then it falls to the Clerk. The Clerk has a duty to call a special meeting of the House so that motion can be debated and disposed of.”

As it relates to a vote of no confidence, Section 47(2), of the Constitution says:

“If notice in writing is given to the Speaker signed by not less than three Representatives, of a motion of no confidence in the Government the Speaker shall) if the House is then sitting or has been summoned to meet within five days, cause the motion to be considered by the House within seven days of the notice.”

If the House does not meet and dispose of the motion within 21 days of the notice, the Clerk of the House shall summon a special meeting of the House at such time and place as he may specify for the purpose of debating and disposing of the motion.

“Remember that a motion of no-confidence in the government would result in the end of the government if it passes, so it is critical that where the Speaker fails … that the Clerk would act in accordance with the law. We in the Parliament, especially in the Opposition need to know that that sacred constitutional duty will be respected and carried out without fear or doubt as to how the Clerk will perform.”

Dr Friday stressed that this was not ‘“a personal attack on Charles” but rather to ensure that “democratic institutions are protected and function effectively”.

“How can members of the Opposition go to Mrs Charles for help when she continues to campaign under the ULP on her Facebook page and in other activities?” Friday questioned.

The Public Service Union (PSU) issued a statement calling for the revocation of the appointment; and Friday said he has written the head of the Public Service Commission on the matter.