ABCRE member says the Constitution makes no provision for rejection of an MP’s resignation by the House Speaker

The Constitution of Antigua and Barbuda does not make any
provision for the Speaker of the House to reject the resignation of a
Member of the House, says Beverly Benjamin-George, an attorney-
at-law and member of the Antiguans and Barbudans for
Constitutional Reform and Education (ABCRE).

Benjamin-George points to Section 125, Subsection 2, of the
Constitution, to which the Speaker – Sir Gerald Watt – referred in his
response to former MP Kelvin “Shugy” Simon, rejecting his

The Section says that a resignation takes effect when it is received
by the person to whom the correspondence should be addressed,
the attorney notes.

Accordingly, referring to Sir Gerald’s letter, she says the Speaker has
already accepted the resignation by virtue of what is written in his
own letter.

Further, under the Constitution, the Speaker has no authority to
even comment on the resignation, much less give a legal opinion on
it, Benjamin-George states.

Hence, she is advising the public not to become distracted by Sir
Gerald’s issue, which appears to be merely a red herring.

According to the ABCRE member, Simon’s resignation should be
considered effective since he has done what this country’s
Constitution requires him to do, and he should continue to do what
he is now doing to prepare for a by-election. 

Simon tendered his resignation a week ago, on June 7. He reasoned
that the people of St. Mary’s South, who, overwhelmingly, had
elected him to the Lower House, should decide on whether he
remains there – and not a judge.

In the January18 General Election, Simon, a first-time candidate for
the United Progressive Party, defeated Samantha Marshall, the
Antigua Labour Party’s contender and the incumbent, by 199 votes.
A member of the constituency subsequently challenged Simon’s
victory on the ground that he had not resigned from the public
service before being nominated as a candidate.

A petition to prevent Simon from being sworn-in as the Member of
Parliament was denied. However, the High Court has agreed to
consider the matter of his eligibility for election and whether
Marshall should be declared the winner if Simon is disqualified.
Following the former MP’s resignation, the Court reportedly has
scheduled a status hearing for this Friday, June 16.