Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Barton Scotland announced last night that suspended Opposition Parliamentarian, Juan Edghill, will be allowed back into the Chambers on today to participate in the ongoing Consideration of Estimates.
In a late night press conference, the Speaker said that the 79th Sitting of the National Assembly, which began at 10am on Monday and was suspended just after noon will continue today.
He reminded that the sitting was suspended due to “gross misconduct” by Edghill who was ordered to leave the Chamber but refused.
The Speaker said Edghill was suspended for Monday but will be allowed back in the Chamber on Tuesday.
But the opposition MP never left the Chamber on Monday and sat there until 10pm, with the lights and air conditioning turned off, with his colleague MPs.
The Speaker said MP Edghill was suspended from the day’s proceedings in accordance with Standing Order 47 (2), which states that “The Speaker or the Chairperson shall order any Member whose conduct is grossly disorderly to withdraw immediately from the Assembly during the remainder of that day’s sitting and may direct such steps to be taken as are required to enforce this order. But if, on any occasion, the Speaker or the Chairperson considers that his or her powers under the previous provision of this Standing Order are inadequate, the Speaker or Chairperson may name such Member for disregarding the authority of the Chair under this Standing Order, in which event the procedure prescribed in the next paragraph should be followed.”
Dr. Scotland discounted speculation that he called members of the Guyana Police Force to remove the Opposition MP from the parliament chamber. The Speaker said he is unaware of who took the action in this regard. He noted that the Opposition MP was disallowed from continuing, since the procedures on time were discussed and agreed to during a meeting from which the Opposition absconded. Dr. Scotland reminded that the parliamentary procedures have been in existence for a number of years and MPs have agreed to and should abide by them.
The Speaker said Edghill’s refusal to leave the House is a first-time occurrence in the history of the Parliament of Guyana.
Dr. Scotland also made it clear that he will continue to act “correctly and fairly,” noting that “If I have to question you, if I have to upbraid you, I will do it.”
In response to a question posed by the media, Dr. Scotland said even in hindsight he does not see a better way of resolving the issue, other than suspending MP Edghill for the day.
He indicated that the rules of the House must be respected and abided by at all times, even if a member is uncomfortable with such an order.
Claims that the media was ordered to remove from the chamber were also discounted by the Speaker, who clarified that he only questioned the continued presence of media operatives after the Sitting was suspended.
Dr. Scotland sees no need for an investigation, since according to him, it is simply a matter of respecting the rules of the House.