12th REPUBLICAN PARLIAMENT: 2nd SESSION

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Guidelines: Motion Filed Pursuant to Section 36 of the Constitution

19 Oct 2021

1.    Section 36 of the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago - Procedure for the Removal of the President from Office

Section 36 of the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (the Constitution) provides for the removal of the President from office. Section 36(1) of the Constitution states:

"36. (1) The President shall be removed from office where—
(a)    a motion that his removal from office should be investigated by a tribunal is proposed in the House of Representatives;
(b)     the motion states with full particulars the grounds on which his removal from office is proposed, and is signed by not less than one-third of the total membership of the House of Representatives;
(c)    the motion is adopted by the vote of not less than two-thirds of the total membership of the Senate and the House of Representatives assembled together;
(d)    a tribunal consisting of the Chief Justice and four other Judges appointed by him, being as far as practicable the most senior Judges, investigate the complaint and report on the facts to the House of Representatives;
(e)    the Senate and the House of Representatives assembled together on the summons of the Speaker consider the report and by resolution supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds of the total membership of the Senate and the House of Representatives assembled together declare that he shall be removed from office.”


2.    Section 36(1)(b)- Requirements for Notice of the Motion

•   The Member shall deliver to the Clerk a copy of the proposed motion in writing.
•   The motion must state with full particulars the grounds on which the proposal to remove the President is proposed.
•   The motion must be signed by the Member, and signed in support by not less than one-third of the total membership in the House of Representatives.
•    A motion for the removal of the President shall be deemed urgent and must be accorded priority over other business.  
•    Upon receipt of the notice of the motion, the Speaker shall cause a copy thereof to be delivered to the President and to all Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
•    The Speaker shall summon the House of Representatives as soon as is reasonably practicable for an Extraordinary Sitting to dispose of the motion.

3.    Proposal of Motion in the House of Representatives

•    An Order Paper on which the motion is listed shall set out the grounds upon which the motion is being proposed, the name of the Member who is seeking to propose the motion in the House of Representatives and the names of the Members in support of the motion.
•    No amendment to the motion proposed under section 36(1)(a) shall be permitted upon receipt of the motion by the Clerk, and any signature appended shall not be withdrawn.
•    On the day set aside for the proposal of the motion in the House of Representatives, the Member shall propose the motion at any time after Announcements by the Speaker.
•    The Member shall only propose the motion and state with full particulars the grounds as set out in the motion, on which the removal of the President from office is proposed.
•   Following the proposal of the motion in the House of Representatives, the Members who signed the motion shall be required to confirm their support for the motion by standing in his/her place and confirming his/her signature when called upon by the Clerk to do so.
•   After the motion is proposed and supported, without amendment or debate, the House of Representatives shall be suspended/adjourned for the convening of the Electoral College for the vote on the adoption of the motion in accordance with section 36(1)(c) of the Constitution.

4.   Meeting of the Electoral College

•    The Electoral College shall be a unicameral body consisting of all the Members of the Senate and all the Members of the House of Representatives assembled together.
•    Section 28 of the Constitution provides for the convening of the Electoral College by the Speaker of the House, as Chairman.

5.    Process of Accreditation

•    Once the Electoral College has been assembled, the Clerk of the House will confirm the attendance of the Members assembled by virtue of a roll call.

6.    Vote on the adoption of the Motion pursuant to section 36 of the Constitution

•    In accordance with section 36(1)(c) of the Constitution, the motion requires a vote of not less than two-thirds of the total membership of the Electoral College.
•    At the meeting of the Electoral College, the Chairman will call upon the Members of the College to vote on the adoption of the motion (without amendment or debate).
•    The Clerk will call on each Member of the Electoral College to vote. Each Member may vote either “yes” or “no”. A Member who wishes to abstain from voting shall do so by remaining silent when called upon by name.
•    The Chairman will then announce the result of the vote.
•    The meeting of the Electoral College will be adjourned by resolution.
•    The motion succeeds if it is adopted by the vote of at least two-thirds of the total membership of the Electoral College.
•    If the motion is adopted by the vote of not less than two-thirds of the total membership of the Electoral College, the Speaker shall forthwith inform the Chief Justice of the adoption of the motion by the Electoral College.
•   The Speaker shall also forthwith inform the President of the adoption of the motion by the Electoral College.
•    If the motion is defeated, the Speaker shall so inform the President, forthwith.
•    A motion pursuant to section 36 of the Constitution shall not be proposed again in the same Session.


Speaker of the House
October 19, 2021

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