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APNU+AFC threatens legal action after Privileges Committee recommends suspension of 8 MPs

The A Partnership For National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) has expressed disappointment over the Privilege committee’s decision to have eight of its Members suspended from Parliament.

The Coalition in a statement on Saturday said this move is illegal and added that “this illegal act to suspend eight Members of Parliament without due process will be challenged.”

Among the MPs recommended for suspension are Christopher Jones (Opposition Chief Whip), Ganesh Mahipaul, Tabitha Sarabo-Halley, Sherod Duncan, Vinceroy Jordan, Natasha Singh-Lewis, Annette Ferguson, and Maureen Philadelphia.

The committee’s recommendation comes after these members attempted to take the Speaker’s mace back in December.

Now the Opposition says they do not agree with this recommendation because of the following:

a)Unconstitutional because our constitution—the supreme law of our land— enshrines the right of all citizens to natural justice; that is, the right of every Guyanese, regardless of the charges, to be given an opportunity to be heard by a competent, independent, and impartial court or any other tribunal prescribed by law.

b)Unparliamentary because the records of Parliament show that all Members of Parliament in the past who were referred to the Committee of Privileges were always afforded the opportunity to be represented by legal counsels of their choice and were all given the opportunity to be heard.

c)An act of political discrimination and suppression, aimed at deterring and intimidating Opposition MPs from fully scrutinizing and criticizing the actions of the government on behalf of the Guyanese people.

According to the statement all the MPs between the dates of 4th and 7th March, 2022, wrote to the clerk of the National Assembly requesting further information on the motion submitted since it referred them to the Committee of Privileges for gross disorderly conduct, contempt, and breaches of privileges but never specified which of their acts so qualified.

To date, they said they have not receive any response and is not satisfied with this.

Chaos outbreak in the Parliament last December, during the passing of the Natural Resources Fund Bills.

Several Opposition MPs attempted to steal the Speaker’s mace- which is the most significant symbol in the National Assembly.

It represents the authority of Parliament. When he enters or leaves the Chamber, the Speaker is preceded by the Sergeant-at-Arms bearing the Mace on his right shoulder.

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