GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Tuesday December 12, 2017 – Opposition Member of Parliament Bishop Juan Edghill was today suspended for the next four sittings of the National Assembly in Guyana, following “gross misconduct” yesterday.
Minister of Social Protection Amna Ally successfully tabled the motion on the heels of Edghill refusing to leave the Chamber.
The sitting was suspended yesterday after Edghill, a member of the main opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP), refused to leave the chamber even after Speaker Dr Barton Scotland ordered the Sergeant at Arms to eject him from the session.
The Speaker’s order followed Edghill refusing to take his seat when the time agreed for the examination of the budget for the Ministry of the Presidency had expired. He continued to argue with the Speaker, insisting that more time be given.
When the Speaker ordered the Sergeant-at-Arms to remove Edghill and police were called in to assist, opposition legislators formed a circle around him to prevent his removal.
The sitting was subsequently suspended.
Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman said that government was concerned about the Opposition’s growing disrespect in the National Assembly. He described the incident as “a fast slippage into disorder” and said the Opposition’s actions took the National Assembly to its lowest ever.
“I have been a Member of Parliament since 1997 and in all of the 20 years, I have never witnessed anything like this,” said Trotman, who has also been a Speaker in the National Assembly. “The Speaker has always been shown respect. Whenever the Speaker has invited a member to sit, be quiet, to refrain or withdraw that has always been complied with. We have set a new precedent today. Some may say we have descended into a new low.”
When the session resumed today and Ally moved the motion for Edghill’s suspension, the Speaker agreed, noting that such a short suspension was “the most lenient” punishment given the opposition MP’s actions.
Scotland said Edghill had “behaved in an extraordinary manner”.
In support of their colleague – who had been prevented from entering the National Assembly by police today – the PPP MPs left the Chamber, but subsequently returned.
At a press conference called after Edghill’s suspension, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo said the PPP would continue to take part in the remainder of the Consideration of the Estimates to ensure scrutiny of Government spending.
“If we walk out from here they will get precisely what they want. That is why we decide to continue working while we fight the injustices against Bishop Edghill,” he said.
“We have a responsibility to look at the spending on behalf of all citizens and we intend to do just that.”