Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall has made it categorically clear that the decision to withhold salaries from the eight suspended opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) is grounded in the law and is not malicious.
The AG’s remarks came on the heels of a comment by opposition parliamentarian Ganesh Mahipaul rejecting the nonpayment, claiming that it is inconsistent with the previous suspensions of Sherod Duncan and Juan Edghill.
Those suspended are Christopher Jones, Ganesh Mahipaul, Sherod Duncan, Natasha Singh-Lewis, Annette Ferguson, Vinceroy Jordan, Tabitha Sarabo-Halley, and Maureen Philadelphia for ‘disorderly conduct and collective vulgarity’ during the December 29, 2021 sitting.
These MPs would lose four to six days’ pay per month, and the AG said this move was not “malicious” and not without “basis.”
Nandlall made these statements during his weekly televised programme, ‘Issues in the News,’ which was broadcasted on Tuesday night.
“That argument that they are peddling out there, and I don’t wish to prejudge legal issues, but I am the Attorney General, I must speak on the law, and if agencies of the state are being accused of illegalities, then it is my duty to correct that public narrative.”
Minister Nandlall made it known that the power to deduct the suspended MPs’ salaries is grounded in the laws of Guyana.
“The law is very clear, Ministers, Members of the National Assembly and Special Officers Emolument Act, Chapter 1:07 of the laws of Guyana, section 6 permits the deductions from a parliamentarian salary and wages if he is suspended by the assembly,” Nandlall expressed.
Jones, Mahipaul, Duncan, and Singh-Lewis have been suspended for four consecutive sittings, while Ferguson, Jordan, Sarabo-Halley, and Philadelphia are suspended for six consecutive sittings.
Their suspension came after they attempted to seize the parliamentary mace during the passage of the Natural Resource Fund bill on December 29, 2021.
The eight Parliamentarians have already moved to the High Court, seeking to nullify the suspension.