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Education Minister banned from speaking during budget debate

Education Minister, Priya Manickchand

Education Minister, Priya Manickchand’s refusal to apologise for heckling remarks she made during the 2014 National Budget means that she will not be allowed to speak in the House during the debate.

She landed in hot water after Speaker, Raphael Trotman found her reference to A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) parliamentarian, Jaipaul Sharma to be distasteful.

At the time APNU Shadow Human Services Minister, Volda Lawrence was urging government to do more to assist victims of sexual assault and statutory rape.  Manickchand then heckled, saying that they should “ask APNU member Sharma”.

Sharma’s father, Chandra Narine Sharma, is currently before the court for alleged sex-related offence.

The Speaker vowed that, in keeping with his guidelines, he would not tolerate such expressions and behaviour. He urged Manickchand to apologise or she would be prevented from speaking during the debate.

She has since refused to do so.

If Trotman’s decision is to be followed to the letter, the Education Minister would be allowed to speak only during the Committee of Supply for the consideration of allocations.