Edghill summoned to appear before Privileges Committee

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PRESS RELEASE

The Honourable Bishop Juan A Edghill MP., is the latest causality of the Coalition Government’s witch-hunting and political vindictive campaign. Bishop Edghill has been summoned, again, to appear before the Privileges Committee of the National Assembly on the June 5, 2017 at 14:00 hrs. This summons was issued on the heels of Bishop Edghill’s damaging expose in recent weeks of massive corruption and deliberate avoidance of, the Procurement Act and its accompanying processes involving billions of taxpayers’ dollars spent by the Administration, unlawfully, in the Health Sector as well as blatant violations of the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act in respect to spending by the Ministry of the Presidency and the Office of the Prime Minister.

We consider the political persecution of Bishop Edghill not only to be an assault on democracy but an attempt to muzzle him in the discharge of his democratic and constitutional duty as a Member of Parliament, to scrutinize and expose unlawful actions, abuse of power and lack of transparency on the part of the Government. It is also an abrogation of the constitutional and democratic rights of the Guyanese citizenry who are entitled to be informed of how their taxpayers’ dollars are being spent nay squandered.

The nation is aware that muzzling , harassment, intimidation, arrest and charging of Parliamentarians, critics and political opponents, are all known and well used methods of the PNC in the past and now being continued by the APNU+AFC  Coalition. Events of these types are well known and documented. Nevertheless, it is apposite to remind of the Tenth parliament, where, even while in opposition, this authoritarian strategy was used. For example, Clement Rohee M.P. was gagged from speaking for nearly one (1) year. It took an Order of the Chief Justice of the country to impugn this crass unconstitutionality and to restore Rohee’s right as an M.P. to speak and the rights of the Guyanese electorate to have him speak on their behalf.

Bishop Edghill is dragged before the Privileges Committee for simply disclosing to the Guyanese taxpayers the cost of the increase in remuneration, personnel and portfolios which the Coalition Government have imposed on them almost one billion dollars for their term in office. We maintain most resolutely that this is information to which the people of Guyana are entitled.

Interestingly, the Minister of Finance contested Bishop Edghill’s calculation and he produced a different set of figures. The Parliament Office also did a computation which is different from that of Bishop Edghill and the Minister of Finance.  The Minister of Finance disclosed his figures in a speech in the National Assembly, as Bishop Edghill did. Therefore, the Finance Minister and the Parliament Office should appear before the Privilege’s Committee, as well.

However, we are convinced that putting Bishop Edghill before the Privileges Committee has very little to do with the accuracy of his computations. It has more to do with attempting to silence, intimidate and threaten him and to break his spirit so that he will not subject the Administration to the rigorous scrutiny, damning exposure and incisive criticisms as he has been doing.

We take this opportunity to alert the Diplomatic community and organizations advocating transparency, good governance and democracy, of the attack on parliamentary democracy in Guyana.

People’s Progressive Party

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