Speaker issues second warning to MP over food poisoning post on Facebook


Speaker of the National Assembly Manzoor Nadir on Thursday issued a second warning to APNU+AFC Member of Parliament Sherod Duncan over a Facebook post alleging that several Opposition MPs were “poisoned” by food served at Parliament on Monday.

At the opening of Day-four of the Budget debates, the Speaker described the post as offensive and said: “I expect that after this announcement with respect to that social media post, there will be positive action on behalf of the member.”

The Speaker said that breaches of privilege is a serious offence and while “we do exercise fairness and patience and impartiality, we have to be guided by the rules that exist.”

The Speaker did not state what actions will be taken against the MP if the post is still seen circulating on social media after Thursday but said he is guided by the rules that exist and by the “most respected” Clerk of the National Assembly in the Commonwealth.

Duncan on Monday posted on Facebook: “Several APNU+AFC MPs may have been food poisoned by food prepared by Parliament’s caterer (s). Developing story.”

The Speaker first upbraided Duncan for the post on Tuesday. A check of the MP’s Facebook page on Thursday found that the post was removed, however, it is still being widely circulated on social media.

On Wednesday, the Speaker clarified that several Parliamentarians reportedly fell ill on Monday after consuming food provided by the Parliament; this included Deputy Speaker Lenox Shuman and Government MPs as well.

As a result, the caterer is trying to ascertain the cause of the contamination. Nadir assured that all steps are being taken to eliminate a recurrence and provide answers.

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