Trotman: Being Speaker and List Rep a ‘non-issue’

Shortly after Trotman was elected as Speaker last January, his predecessor, Ralph Ramkarran had argued that the Speaker of the National Assembly cannot, without any justification, wear the hats of List Representative and Speaker at the same time.

AFC Chairman, Khemraj Ramjattan had also said that he concurred with this view.

“I don’t think that is an issue. That’s a non-issue,” Trotman said when contacted by Stabroek News yesterday. He said that the AFC will not allow other parties to dictate their position on this and it is within the Constitution. The AFC has the capacity to deal with the issue and will deal with it eventually, he said.

Previously, Trotman had told this newspaper that the party has to decide on that issue.

Ramjattan had said that the Speaker cannot be the representative of the party list at the same time and the AFC would discuss the issue.  When pressed about a formal process whereby a new List Representative could be named, he had said that there was no need, since if the Speaker cannot be the List Representative, then the Deputy List Representative would take over. Ramjattan is the Deputy Represen-tative of the AFC’s list.

Writing in the PPP’s Weekend Mirror in January, Ramkarran had said that a “novel situation” has arisen with Speaker Trotman also being the AFC leader and Representative of its List. “In these capacities he is the leading official and chief spokesperson of the AFC,” the former Speaker noted. “He can also remove any Member of Parliament of the AFC and replace him or her. Mr. Trotman may find great difficulty in publicly reconciling the position of Speaker with those of Leader and List Representa-tive of the AFC. The Speaker cannot, without any justification, wear the Party Leader’s and List Representative’s hat in the morning, deciding party strategy in Parliament, and the Speaker’s hat in the afternoon, impartially presiding over the implementation of that strategy in the face of opposition to it,” he wrote.

Trotman had told Stabroek News that his days as leader of the AFC will soon be over. Yesterday he reiterated that he will not seek a leadership post when the AFC holds its conference which is due before July.

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