Platinum Card scandal: urgent open letter to members of the National Assembly

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The National Assembly should meet to consider, or at least see,
the letter of resignation of Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, says the author.

Honourable Members,

People have been informed by the media that a letter of resignation from the President has been ‘‘delivered’’ to the Speaker. The letter has been addressed to the National Assembly, but as of now the National Assembly has not been apprised of the letter. We feel, it’s your duty to request that the National Assembly takes cognizance of the letter immediately, because as per the Constitution, the letter of resignation is addressed to the National Assembly. Section 28 (6) states that the President “resigns his office by writing addressed to the Assembly and delivered to the Speaker”.

You will note that the letter is only delivered to the Speaker, but it is meant ONLY for the National Assembly. The letter should therefore be tabled at the National Assembly at a sitting.

The National Assembly is made up of you MLAs, as our representatives, as we are in a parliamentary democratic system. It’s the National Assembly that appoints the President. It’s also the National Assembly that removes the President. These powers belong to the people of this country, which it exercises through its representatives.

The point is that the National Assembly must have a role to play: the National Assembly should meet to consider, or at least see, the letter. If the National Assembly is by-passed and is not given an opportunity to consider the letter, this may be interpreted as being against Section 28 (6) and a defiance of people’s power and democratic principles. The Assembly becomes another vase à fleurs!

Further, so long as it does not go against the Constitution, the National Assembly, as a Parliament in a democratic country, is sovereign. It can decide when to meet, especially if there is an urgent matter to discuss. Here, the matter is urgent as there will be no President as from tomorrow noon. (We note, in passing that the resignation letter is neither addressed to the Prime Minister nor to the Vice-President (VP). So, as from noon tomorrow, there will be no President? Who has the authority to ask the VP to step in?)

Also, the National Assembly is free to decide on how to conduct its business. It can consider the letter. Although the Constitution is silent on this point, there is nothing in the Constitution that prevents the National Assembly from determining the way it operates, as long as the manner in which it does so is not in contradiction with the Constitution, and is in furtherance of its functions, powers, duties and prerogatives. The National Assembly can, therefore, consider the letter, refuse the resignation and proceed with the removal procedure.

The basis for the above reasoning is that we cannot treat all resignations of Presidents alike. A resignation which is forced on the President, based on alleged serious acts of misconduct, cannot enjoy the same treatment as a routine one after the completion of a regular tour of service by a President. When the resignation is tendered in extraordinary or special circumstances, tainted, escaping a removal procedure, the National Assembly should be able to treat it differently: it may decide to accept the resignation or to delay it. Also, if the National Assembly accepts the resignation, this means she has not been removed and will be entitled to benefits…

But more importantly, the National Assembly should have a say in this matter: this democratic principle Constitution cannot be overlooked!


Un nouveau scandale défraie la chronique depuis le mercredi 28 février à Maurice. Cette fois-ci cela concerne ni plus ni moins la garante de notre Constitution, son excellence Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, présidente de la République. Elle a dépensé plusieurs centaines de milliers de roupies pour des achats personnels, entre autres, sur une carte de crédit Platinum offerte par la Planet Earth Institute, la fondation d’Álvaro Sobrinho, homme d’affaires angolais hautement controversé. Retrouvez tous les articles concernant cette affaire dans notre dossier spécial : Platinum Card. Une enquête exclusive de l’express.

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