Speaker says Opposition legislator remains suspended

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Dec 12, CMC – The Speaker of the Guyana parliament, Dr. Barton Scotland, says the sitting of the National Assembly that was suspended on Monday will resume later Tuesday with opposition legislator Bishop Juan Edghill still on suspension.

The Chamber erupted into chaos on Monday after Edghill refused adhere to a ruling by the Speaker that he vacate the Chamber. His opposition colleagues formed a chain around him.

guyana parSpeaking at a news conference on Monday night, Scotland said that “as far as I know this is the first time in the history of our Parliament that a member has refused to withdraw from the Chamber on the orders of the Speaker.

“The 79th sitting of the Assembly…will continue tomorrow (Tuesday). The Honourable Member Juan Edghill remains suspended,” the Speaker said.

Edghill, a member of the main opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) refused to leave the Chamber even after the Speaker had ordered the Sergeant at Arms to eject him from the session.

The Speaker had earlier indicated that he was sticking to the agreed timeframe for the examination of the budget for the Ministry of the Presidency.

Legislators had been told that two hours had been set aside for the exercise but when the time elapsed Edghill rose to his feet and demanded that more time be provided for the scrutiny of the Ministry of the Presidency’s estimates.

The Speaker reminded the National Assembly of the earlier agreement but Edghill kept demanding that he be allowed more time even as he was repeatedly asked to take his seat.

Scotland said that the matter regarding the time had been discussed during a Committee of the Whole on Friday and acknowledged that the opposition was not present.

“Members of the opposition had absented themselves from the meeting of the Committee of the Whole,” adding “if any of you members of the press was present on Friday you will know that after the Leader of the Opposition spoke…the opposition benches were absent, empty except for one member of the opposition on two occasions.

“One member was there he left and another member took his place and then he left,” Scotland added.

On Monday both the government and the opposition differed on the ruling with Minister of State Harmon Joseph saying all legislators had to abide by the ruling of the Speaker regardless of their personal position on any issue.

“It is not a matter between the Speaker and the MP. It is a matter of what is the lawful position. The Member of Parliament took a certain position, the Speaker made a ruling after several warnings to him (and) even after the Speaker gave his ruling the Speaker told him to leave the Chambers and all of you heard him say I will not leave in complete defiance of what the Speaker said”.

But Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo said he had made certain recommendations to the Speaker including the possibility of adjourning the session “ so that we can diffuse the entire situation.

“I pointed out to him about the frustration on our side in relation to the constant attempt of the government to avoid scrutiny. Now, consideration of the Estimates is provided for by the Standing Orders (and) could take as much as seven days. They have reduced it to five days although we are dealing with a budget that is over GUY$265 billion (One Guyana dollar=US$0.004 cents”.

Jagdeo said he had informed the Speaker that the issue “has gone beyond his ruling on whether Edgill should remain in the Chamber or not”.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

by STAFF WRITER
 

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Dec 12, CMC – The Speaker of the Guyana parliament, Dr. Barton Scotland, says the sitting of the National Assembly that was suspended on Monday will resume later Tuesday with opposition legislator Bishop Juan Edghill still on suspension.

The Chamber erupted into chaos on Monday after Edghill refused adhere to a ruling by the Speaker that he vacate the Chamber. His opposition colleagues formed a chain around him.

guyana parSpeaking at a news conference on Monday night, Scotland said that “as far as I know this is the first time in the history of our Parliament that a member has refused to withdraw from the Chamber on the orders of the Speaker.

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“The 79th sitting of the Assembly…will continue tomorrow (Tuesday). The Honourable Member Juan Edghill remains suspended,” the Speaker said.

Edghill, a member of the main opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) refused to leave the Chamber even after the Speaker had ordered the Sergeant at Arms to eject him from the session.

The Speaker had earlier indicated that he was sticking to the agreed timeframe for the examination of the budget for the Ministry of the Presidency.

Legislators had been told that two hours had been set aside for the exercise but when the time elapsed Edghill rose to his feet and demanded that more time be provided for the scrutiny of the Ministry of the Presidency’s estimates.

The Speaker reminded the National Assembly of the earlier agreement but Edghill kept demanding that he be allowed more time even as he was repeatedly asked to take his seat.

Scotland said that the matter regarding the time had been discussed during a Committee of the Whole on Friday and acknowledged that the opposition was not present.

“Members of the opposition had absented themselves from the meeting of the Committee of the Whole,” adding “if any of you members of the press was present on Friday you will know that after the Leader of the Opposition spoke…the opposition benches were absent, empty except for one member of the opposition on two occasions.

“One member was there he left and another member took his place and then he left,” Scotland added.

On Monday both the government and the opposition differed on the ruling with Minister of State Harmon Joseph saying all legislators had to abide by the ruling of the Speaker regardless of their personal position on any issue.

“It is not a matter between the Speaker and the MP. It is a matter of what is the lawful position. The Member of Parliament took a certain position, the Speaker made a ruling after several warnings to him (and) even after the Speaker gave his ruling the Speaker told him to leave the Chambers and all of you heard him say I will not leave in complete defiance of what the Speaker said”.

But Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo said he had made certain recommendations to the Speaker including the possibility of adjourning the session “ so that we can diffuse the entire situation.

“I pointed out to him about the frustration on our side in relation to the constant attempt of the government to avoid scrutiny. Now, consideration of the Estimates is provided for by the Standing Orders (and) could take as much as seven days. They have reduced it to five days although we are dealing with a budget that is over GUY$265 billion (One Guyana dollar=US$0.004 cents”.

Jagdeo said he had informed the Speaker that the issue “has gone beyond his ruling on whether Edgill should remain in the Chamber or not”.