Attorney: Law says THA head remains in place
ATTORNEY Martin George said Tobago House of Assembly Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis need not give up his job or perks of office after last Monday’s tied THA election, despite calls from the PDP for him to step down.The election ended in a six-six draw between the incumbent PNM and challengers the PDP. The PNM previously held ten seats.
He said the THA Act says that even when the assembly stands dissolved, the members of the THA’s executive council, namely the Chief Secretary and his/her deputy, plus others, stay in their posts.
George queried calls made for Dennis to stop using the chief secretary’s house and car and to stop exercising the powers of the position.
“It is very clear, under section 34 of the Tobago House of Assembly Act, that the executive council shall be responsible for carrying out the functions of the assembly.”
He said section 33 said the executive council is made up of the Chief Secretary and his/her deputy, plus other secretaries as may be appointed.
“That executive council is preserved by section 34(4), (which) says the executive council shall continue to discharge its functions during any period that the assembly stands dissolved.
“So in other words, during this time when the assembly stands dissolved, the executive council is still valid, effective and functioning. So the chief secretary still holds his position and his office. So also does the deputy chief secretary, so also do the secretaries.
“So any call for the chief secretary to stop living in the house, stop using the car or stop exercising his functions as chief secretary is totally wrong. It appears to fly in the face of the clear provisions of the law, and I think that ought to be clarified and cleared up so that misconception is not out there among the public.”
George said the act in section 36 said the chief secretary remains in office until a fresh oath is administered either to himself or his successor. He reiterated that when the assembly is dissolved, the chief secretary does not automatically vacate office.
BY: SEAN DOUGLAS