Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Honourable Professor Kenneth Hall is now awaiting official documentation from the Chief Electoral Officer, in the form of a gazette, declaring the Members of Parliament, after which he will officially appoint the new Prime Minister.
In an interview with JIS News regarding the transition period for Government, constitutional lawyer, Bert Samuels explained that, “what happens now is that the Chief Electoral Officer will, from the respective Returning Officers, take the (vote) counts. He will then have it gazetted as to the members who have been successful, and thereafter it is that gazette that directs and advises us the public, and the Governor-General, as to who are Members of Parliament.”
“The Governor-General will, after the tally is fully in as to all the Members of Parliament, appoint that person who, in his view, has the confidence of the majority of Members of the House of Representatives,” he elaborated.
He explained that the Governor-General usually appoints the Prime Minister within the most reasonable time, and therefore, he anticipates that by Thursday (September 6), or Friday (September 7), Professor Hall would have the material (gazette), “to say who has the confidence of the majority of the House.”
“When the Governor-General selects a Prime Minister, the moment he does that, the new Prime Minister will now advise the Governor-General who will be members of the Cabinet, that is, Ministers of Government. Then we have the swearing in,” he pointed out.
In practice, Mr. Samuels noted, the Prime Minister is sworn in and then he or she swears in his core Cabinet, which by section 69 of the Constitution should comprise a minimum of 11 persons. No more than four Ministers can be drawn from the Senate.
In the meantime, Governance must continue, the attorney-at-law said, therefore the magisterial recounts that the People’s National Party (PNP) is seeking, will take place whilst the new government is being formed. “So, the magisterial recounts may have a change in situation, but the Governor-General is not going to await the magisterial recount – he awaits the final count and the gazetting by the Chief Electoral Officer,” Mr. Samuels said.
Portia Simpson Miller remains the Prime Minister until the election of the new Prime Minister.
Theoretically, Mr. Samuels said, if there is a crisis, members of Mrs. Simpson Miller’s Cabinet would be directly responsible.
“If for example matters of national security arise at this time, the Minister of National Security will have to deal with it. Government must continue, because you can’t have a situation where there is no one responsible, so within the four or five days of wait, the Ministers of the Cabinet of the previous government are still Ministers,” he informed.