The Parliamentary Committee of Privileges has completed its report on the protest in the National Assembly during the reading of the Natural Resource Fund Bill and the removal of the Speaker’s Mace and is recommending the suspension of eight Opposition Members of Parliament.
While the Committee of Privileges is made up of both members of the Government and the Opposition, the four Opposition Members of the Committee stayed away from the last three of its five meetings.
With the Speaker chairing the meetings, the Government Members of the Committee went on with their meeting and prepared a motion as part of the Committee for the suspension of eight Opposition MPs.
The Committee has recommended that Opposition Chief Whip Christopher Jones and MPs Ganesh Mahipaul, Sherod Duncan and Natasha Singh be suspended for four consecutive sittings of the Assembly for their attempt to prevent the second and third reading of the Natural Resource Fund Bill.
Members of Parliament Vinceroy Jordan and Annette Ferguson have been recommended to face suspension from six consecutive sittings of the Assembly for gross and disorderly behavior during the reading of the Natural Resource Fund Bill and the removal of the Mace from its rightful position.
The Committee has recommended that MP Tabitha Sarabo-Halley also face a six-sitting suspension for unauthorized entry into the communication control room of the Arthur Chung Convention Centre and destroying audio-visual equipment.
And finally, the Committee is also recommending that Opposition MP Maureen Philadelphia face suspension for six sittings for verbally assaulting a staff of the Parliamentary Office within the precincts of the National Assembly.
The report and recommendations were signed by the Chairperson of the Privileges Committee, Speaker Manzoor Nadir, and will now have to be laid in the National Assembly as a motion for it to be adopted and action taken.
Some of the Opposition Members who were placed before the Committee have denied the allegations that were leveled against them and questioned the motion that was presented to the House by the Government that paved the way for the Committee to look into the matter.
They had made several requests for particulars of their infractions and the charges laid against them to be made known to them.
Based on the documents released today by the National Assembly, there was no response to the requests.
Opposition MP, Senior Counsel Roysdale Force said the Opposition completely rejects the report, and recommendations of the Committee of Privileges and Court action will be taken.
“I believe that those charges and the recommendations for suspension from the National Assembly are without any merit. The Privileges Committee did not afford those eight members a hearing, it did not provide them with the evidence upon which they would have apparently been convicted by the Privileges Committee and this is against the fundamental tenets of justice and against the principles set out in the Constitution and we will certainly take necessary steps to ensure that those proceedings which will now find themselves into the National Assembly are struct down by the Courts as being null, void and of no legal effect”, Mr. Forde said.
The National Assembly is expected to meet next week and it is expected that the report from the Privileges Committee will be laid before the House for action.