The suspended APNU+AFC Members of Parliament will have to wait longer before a determination is made on whether or not their suspension from the National Assembly would be lifted by the High Court.
The eight Opposition MPs – Tabitha Sarabo-Halley, Vinceroy Jordan, Annette Ferguson, Maureen Philadelphia, Ganesh Mahipaul, Sherod Duncan, Christopher Jones and Natasha Singh-Lewis – are challenging a decision of the National Assembly’s Committee of Privileges to suspend them over last December’s protest in the National Assembly during the presentation of the Natural Resource Fund Bill.
When the matter came up in the High Court today, Justice Damone Younge refused to grant an interim order blocking the suspension while the substantive case was being heard. The Judge referenced her earlier ruling that she prefers to go through all of the arguments in the matter.
Oral arguments on the substantive case are now set to be heard on the 1st November. The Judge has also set strict timelines for all sides to hand in their submissions and responses.
Attorney General Anil Nandlall who is the first named respondent in the case, informed the High Court that he will be filing an application to strike out the matter completely. In another application, he is expected to challenge the High Court’s jurisdiction to hear the case.
Through his Attorney Sase Gunraj, Speaker of the National Assembly Manzoor Nadir also signalled his intention to file an application to be removed as a party to the proceedings. The Speaker, who is listed as the second respondent, will also challenge the Court’s jurisdiction to hear the matter.
Justice Younge has given both the Attorney General and the Speaker up until August 29 to file their applications and accompanying documents, and September 19 for the filing of answers by the applicants. All submissions are expected to be filed by October 12.
The eight Opposition MPs were suspended last week. Some of them have been suspended from six sittings while others have been suspended from four sittings.
The suspended MPs are maintaining that their suspension is illegal since they were not given a hearing before the Committee of Privileges to respond to the case filed against them.
The Opposition Members of the Committee stayed away from the Committee’s meeting addressing the matter and also stayed away from the debate when it was placed in the National Assembly.