Sitting suspended, Police called in to escort “disrespectful” Edghill from Chamber
DPI, Guyana, Monday, December 11, 2017
The first day of the consideration of the 2018 National Budget Estimates took a sour turn on Monday, after Speaker of the National Assembly Dr. Barton Scotland called for the suspension of the sitting and ordered that Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) Bishop Juan Edghill immediately leave the Parliamentary Chamber.
MP Edghill was deemed disrespectful to the House Speaker, after he refused to heed several commands to take his seat. He had repeatedly sought answers to questions that the Speaker said could not have been dealt with at that moment, because of the lack of time.
At the commencement of the sitting, Dr. Scotland had reminded that the House would be keeping to the timeframe, allocated to agencies, to address matters for the day. For matters under the Ministry of the Presidency, – the first consideration for the day – a time of two hours was allotted.
It was after the consideration of the capital expenditure under the Ministry of the Presidency (Youth), that MP Edghill requested some further clarification, which Dr. Scotland said could not be entertained because the time had passed. The Speaker, was in the process of moving on to the next item under the Ministry of Presidency, when Edghill maintained that he needed to have his queries answered.
Dr. Scotland then explained, “We are allowed for each agency, a specific time. What that meant was, when that time is reached and put to question, we cannot have it both ways. We cannot make an agreement. We cannot accept a set time and then we ignore it. We cannot do that.”
The Speaker then requested that MP Edghill take his seat. He, however refused and continued standing, maintaining that he was an elected member of House and present to attend to the people’s interest. “I don’t mind being out of order sir. It is a matter of principle that I stand up to be out of order sir. I will stand up and be out of order!” he informed the Speaker.
The Member of Parliament blatantly refused to leave the chamber, and even the probing of the Sergeant of Arms of the National Assembly did not move him. Dr. Scotland then left the Chambers promising that the matters for the day would not move forward if Edghill remained.
An uproar later erupted when officers of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) made their way into the chamber and MP Edghill again refused to leave with the ranks. He was even protected by a human barricade, formed by his colleagues who all claimed maltreatment.
By: Alexis Rodney
For more photos, click on the link to the DPI’s Flickr Page