Privileges Committee recommends suspension for eight APNU+AFC Parliamentarians
The Parliamentary Committee of Privileges has recommended varied suspensions for eight opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) involved in the parliamentary disruptions resulting in the seizure of the Speaker’s Mace on December 29, 2021.
The opposition MPs who reprimand is being recommended for are Annette Ferguson, Christopher Jones, Ganesh Mahipaul, Vinceroy Jordan, Tabitha Sarabo-Halley, Sherod Duncan, Maureen Philadelphia and Natasha Singh-Lewis.
The committee’s report recommended that MPs Jones, Mahipaul, Duncan and Singh- Lewis be suspended for four consecutive sittings of the National Assembly after they engaged in disorderly and disrespectful behaviour.
It was also recommended that MPs Ferguson and Jordan be suspended for six consecutive sittings following their “severe and egregious” violations that night.
These MPs were involved in the removal of the mace from its rightful position, causing damages; as well as injured and assaulted a member of staff from the Parliament Office.
Sarabo-Halley could also face a suspension from six consecutive sittings of the National Assembly since she entered the communication control room of the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (where the sitting was held) without authorisation, and destroyed several pieces of audio-visual equipment.
Finally, MP Philadelphia is also recommended for a six-week suspension. The report noted that she verbally assaulted a member of staff of the Parliament Office within the precincts of the National Assembly.
That staffer was Ean McPherson, a 53-year-old former police and army officer, who ensured that the Mace did not leave the building, to investigate the incident.
As he lay on his back, clasping the mace to ensure it wasn’t taken out of the premises, Opposition Parliamentarian Maureen Philadelphia, as was recorded on video, is seen standing over him and shouting the derogatory racial slur “house n**ro.”
In addition to the aforementioned concerns, the report noted that all eight MPs “conducted themselves in a gross disorderly, contumacious and disrespectful manner” when they attempted to prevent the second and third readings of the Natural Resource Fund Bill in December.
Those members of the House, the report further noted, repeatedly ignored the authority of the National Assembly and the Speaker Manzoor Nadir. As such, they were found to have committed contempt and breaches of privileges.
The Motion of Privileges was moved by government Chief Whip and Minister of Governance and Parliamentary Affairs Gail Teixeira. The events that unfolded were broadcast live on multiple social media fora.
Both members of Government and the Opposition are part of the privileges committee; Speaker Manzoor Nadir chairs the committee.
This report will be presented by the Chairman to the National Assembly on Thursday, during the 48th sitting of the National Assembly.