Suspended parliamentarians to lose pay, other entitlements

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 July 2022, 16:52 by Denis Chabrol

The eight parliamentarians, who were suspended last week, are expected to be officially informed on Wednesday of the majority decision by the National Assembly which would see them losing a portion of their salaries and access to facilities, Clerk of the National Assembly Sherlock Isaacs said Tuesday.

Mr Isaacs explained that they would each four to six days pay and they would not be allowed within the precincts of the Parliament Building or Chamber, use of the library or participation in committee meetings.

Earlier  Wednesday, APNU+AFC parliamentarian Ganesh Mahipaul said he was unsure whether he and his seven other colleagues have been suspended as legal action was filed in the High Court last week Thursday, one day before the sitting.

Mr Mahipaul is relying on previous rulings by House Speakers that once a matter is before the court, the National Assembly could not discuss it but House Speaker Manzoor Nadir is on record as saying that the case could not merely be filed but had to be properly considered and scheduled.

Mr Mahipaul and his colleagues on Tuesday continued to main that their constitutional rights have been violated because they have not been given an opportunity to be heard. “Whatever rule or procedure or whatever action the Parliament takes, it must be within the confines of the constitution. They cannot act outside of the constitution and that is our challenge. Our constitutional right as members of Parliament and citizens of Guyana were violated . We were not given a chance to be heard and we were not given a chance to present ourselves, to present our case and to basically respect the rule of natural justice,” he said.

The Report of the Privileges Committee into the disturbance in the National Assembly on December 29, 2021 shows that each of the parliamentarians had been asked to show cause why they should not be punished. In turn, they asked for details of the allegations against them and at the same time denied their involvement.

The government members of the Privileges Committee relied on video recorded at the time of the protest, letters from staff members of Parliament Office and evidence from the media.

Based on the report of the Privileges Committee, Opposition Chief Whip Christopher Jones, Sherod Duncan, Natasha Singh-Lewis and Ganesh Mahipaul were suspended from four consecutive sittings for conducting themselves in a gross disorderly, contumacious, and disrespectful manner, and repeatedly ignoring the authority of the Assembly and that of the Speaker, and thereby committing contempt and breaches of privileges.

Also parliamentarians Annette Ferguson and Vinceroy Jordan were suspended for six consecutive sittings for additionally for committing serious violations which were severe and egregious by unauthorizedly removing the Parliamentary Mace from its rightful position in a disorderly fashion, causing damage to the Mace, injuring and assaulting a staff of the Parliament Office, while attempting to remove the Mace from the Chamber.

With the report having been adopted, parliamentarian Tabitha Sarabo-Halley, according to report, would be suspended for six consecutive sittings for unauthorizedly entering the communication control room of the Arthur Chung Conference Centre and destroying several pieces of audio-visual equipment, being public property.