After disregarding cautions issued by the Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Barton Scotland during the debates on Monday, People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Member of Parliament (MP) Cornel Damon was upbraided on Tuesday afternoon.
On Monday as Damon rose to give his contributions to the Budget, he began to invoke the name of the President in his remark. The Speaker swiftly stopped Damon and cautioned him against the invocation of the name of the President in the House saying “Honorable Member you cannot use the President's name in the context of this debate.”
To this caution, Damon repeated what he was saying later adding that he did not call the President’s name.
“I sat here and listened to the President give a long synopsis – I did not call his name,” he stated.
Tuesday, the Speaker made it clear that he ought not to have allowed such sentiment being expressed in the National Assembly.
Mere moments after, PPP MP Neendkumar rose to give his contribution to the debates as the first speaker of the day, he uttered the words “de facto government” referencing the APNU+AFC.
This statement was quickly challenged by Government MP Raphael Trotman who stated that the sentiment was disrespectful and such not to be allowed in the House.
Neendkumar defended his statement noting that there was currently a petition before the courts regarding the issue.
Scotland for his part stated that the MP should be well aware that it is improper bring raise such an issue in the House while it attracts the attention of the courts.
Scotland said no member should import anything that is before the Court to the House and ruled that the statement was improper.
“Freedom of speech is enjoyed by all but it is always exercised in the four walls of rules. Within the Assembly the Standing Orders apply… you enjoy that freedom of expression only because the parliament says you are free to say what you want to say here,” the Speaker said.
As he allowed Neendkumar to continue, an apology nor a withdrawal was issued which prompted further criticism from the Speaker.
“Honorable member please take your seat…If we make a mistake is it so difficult to acknowledge an error and to simply put it right, surely it cannot, it cannot be a difficulty,” he stated.