MPs prepare to meet on Jules James issue

PHILIPSBURG--As Members of Parliament (MPs) prepare to talk today, Monday, about whether it was lawful for MP Jules James of the United People’s (UP) party to vote on a November 2011 motion that specifically mentioned him, there was much talk in the community about a possible government shakeup.

.That shakeup, according to word in the community, possibly come in the form of some UP/Democratic Party (DP)/Illidge coalition MPs withdrawing support and joining with the now opposition National Alliance (NA) over disagreements related to James.

James, who is general manager of Simpson Bay Resorts (formerly Pelican Resort Club), has been embattled for more than a year now and has faced severe criticism for the dismissal of a number of resort workers after Pelican Resort Club went bankrupt and a new company took over the resort operations.

NA had tabled a motion in Parliament on November 17, 2011, seeking to compel government to work out a solution for the dismissed workers with the resort owners and seeking to condemn James’ actions. The motion was voted down amidst much controversy.

While UP parliamentary group leader MP Romain Laville did not vote on the motion, James voted against it and NA has been protesting since then that his doing so, allowed by President of Parliament Gracita Arrindell, was unconstitutional. This has led to the Parliament meeting to review the lawfulness of that vote.

The first requested meeting on the subject by NA did not have a quorum because the majority of coalition MPs did not turn up. The reason given for their absence was that they were awaiting Laville’s arrival for a pre-session. The meeting was called a second time, but was cancelled on NA’s request due to “illness” within the NA family.

A meeting on the same topic was requested by NA again more than a week ago. That meeting will be held in the General Assembly Hall of Parliament House today starting at 10:00am.

In its request NA said it wanted to discuss its motion on which James had voted; its position that James had not been allowed to vote on the November 17, 2011, motion in which he was named; Governor Eugene Holiday’s letter to Parliament of December 5 on the issue; and Arrindell’s reaction to the Governor’s letter.

It is expected that NA will table a motion of some sort during the meeting aimed at testing the coalition’s strength, especially due to the rift with MP Laville that featured prominently on November 2011.

James cannot be removed by a vote of no confidence in Parliament. MPs are elected in general elections for a term of four years. An MP’s term ends either by resignation or by not garnering enough votes in a general election for a seat in the 15-member parliament.

(The Daily Herald)

13 February 2012

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