Parliament safe despite ‘Santa’ breach and singing evangelist – Top Cop
The country’s acting Police Commissioner has described the strange entry of a woman dressed as Santa Claus in the Parliamentary Chambers as “no more than just a prank” despite the Parliament Office itself calling the incident a “serious breach of security.”
He said that neither that incident nor Thursday’s, in which a woman entered the Parliamentary Chamber and took up seating in a reserved area behind government Ministers, meant that there was a deteriorating situation regarding the security of Parliament.
Regarding the Santa incident, he said: “there cannot be a security breach when an entry in whatever shape or form is authorized.”
He did not go into details.
The identity of the person dressed as Santa remains unknown. The identity of the persons who orchestrated the event also remains unknown.
On the day of the incident, senior security personnel identified the person as the secretary of a government Minister. The woman was calmly escorted to the back gate of the Public Buildings by a person known to the Parliamentary security who is usually located on the lower flat of Public Buildings, but was in the lobby for Parliamentarians on the day in question and escorted the “Santa” out.
Despite this, the Clerk of the National Assembly said that the Parliament Office was unable to identify the person who took away the woman.
The Clerk of the National Assembly had stated that the woman entered the building dressed in normal attire, but used the washroom reserved for Parliamentarians to change into the Santa outfit. She then made her way into the lobby area designated for Parliamentarians and went in ringing a bell and carrying a dictionary a few minutes into the Budget Debate speech of Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo.
He said the issue of the singing evangelist “was really nothing near to a security breach, as the woman in question was permitted to enter the Public Viewing Gallery by security officials of Parliament Office Security.”
There is a public gallery in the Parliamentary Chamber where visitors sit when there are sittings of the House.
However, the woman who began singing after the Speaker adjourned the morning session of the National Assembly on Thursday and later identified herself as Natalie McLennan, was seated at an area usually reserved for high-profile guests or staff of government ministries, especially during the consideration of budget estimates.
Despite dismissing the two incidents as not constituting security breaches, the acting Commissioner of Police said the Police Force in collaboration with its senior colleagues in the Sister Services have “reviewed and enhanced security arrangements in an around Parliament and is satisfied that the security of Parliament in these times is assured.”