GEORGETOWN, Guyana, July 24, 2022 - The Opposition APNU/AFC has filed Court action over the suspension of eight opposition members of parliament by the Speaker of the House following the adoption of a report of the Privileges Committee The suspension is in relation to a fracas that enveloped the House back in December during the presentation of the Natural Resource Fund Bill.
The Opposition is maintaining that the suspension of the eight Members of Parliament is illegal since there was no fair hearing and the Members were never allowed to appear before the Committee that handed down the sanctions.
The National Assembly with the governing People’s Progressive Party using its majority, adopted the report of the Privileges Committee and went ahead with the suspension of eight Opposition Members of Parliament.
The motion to adopt the recommendation of the Privileges Committee was put to the House by Minister of Governance Gail Teixeira and supported by Attorney General Anil Nandlall and Joinder list member Lenox Shuman.
The APNU+AFC Opposition did not participate in the debate of the motion, as the coalition had objected to the recommendation of the Privileges Committee to suspend the Opposition Members of Parliament over the fracas that took place in the House back in December in relation to the Natural Resource Fund Bill.
The recommendation came from the Government members of the Privileges Committee which is chaired by the Speaker of the House, as the Opposition members boycotted most of the committee’s meetings on the issue.
The following are the MPs recommended for suspension: Opposition Chief Whip Christopher Jones, Ganesh Mahipaul, Sherod Duncan, Natasha Singh, Vinceroy Jordan, Annette Ferguson, Tabitha Sarabo-Halley, and Maureen Philadelphia.
The recommendations are that some MPs are to be suspended for four sittings while others will face suspension for six sittings.
Governance Minister Gail Teixeira in defending the decision to suspend the Members of Parliament, said proper parliamentary conduct must always be maintained.
“I hope this will not be seen as just another battle to win, but to sit and think quietly was it all worth it. What badge of honour have you got out of this behaviour and what sort of example have you given to the Guyanese people and the Guyanese young people who saw that tape. And so Mr. Speaker I support these recommendations,” Teixeira said.
Attorney General Anil Nandlall who also supported the suspension made reference to the move by the Opposition Members to challenge the suspension in the courts. He said the judiciary should exercise caution and care in approaching an issue of a parliamentary committee.
“Mr. Speaker, the matter is already in the Court and I suspect and I have no doubt that the record of tonight’s proceedings will become part of the Court proceedings…When the Parliament exercises its powers to discipline its officers, those innately and intrinsically Parliamentary functions. So if another agency or organ of the state wants to be part of those functions, it is that other agency that has to be careful that it will not trespass on the province of Parliament,” Nandlall said.
The APNU+AFC has rejected the suspensions and has also noted that in previous cases when issues arose in Parliament that were before the Court, the Speaker disallowed any discussion on those issues.
Source: News Source Guyana