Independent Senators not required to resign; President to decide who stays or goes

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Independent Senators not required to resign; President to decide who stays or goes

Clerk of the House Jacqui Sampson-Meiguel said there is no established practice that requires Independent Senators to tender their resignation to the President upon the coming into office of a new President.

The debate has now resurfaced as to whether the current crop of independent senators, who were appointed by former President Paula Mae-Weekes should resign following the inauguration of President Christine Kangaloo.

However, Sampson-Meiguel said: “The decision as to whether the seat of an independent senator is to be vacated and a new person appointed is a decision of the President in his or her own discretion. If an Independent Senator wishes they could resign at any time.”

Independent senator, Paul Richards, told Guardian Media in an interview: “There is no requirement for resignation. In a general sense, parliamentarians are appointed for a parliamentary session and during that session a sitting President can appoint Independent Senators according to the Constitution, or replace Independent Senators as their will dictates.

“When President Weekes became President the only Independent who resigned was then Senator Mahabir and that was his choice at the time,” he said.

Senator Anthony Vieira added: “The new president has the discretion and the power to change one of us, two of us, three of us, the whole bench if she wants because we still are at her pleasure, that’s entirely the new President’s call.”

He said someone mentioned to him that President Kangaloo had indicated in an interview that she was going to let the independent bench continue to serve out this parliamentary term, “which would be wise, because I mean, you know, you just come into the office and to be just making changes without having settled down might not be appropriate.”