…says Opposition MPs to sit-in until session ends
Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, following the meeting with Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Barton Scotland over the chaos that ensued within the Parliamentary Chambers this morning, said that no agreement has been reached to diffuse the prevailing situation.
Speaking to the media following the meeting, Jagdeo revealed that the Speaker is insisting that PPP/C Member of Parliament Bishop Juan Edghill leaves the Parliamentary Chambers, however, Jagdeo said the issue has gone beyond the Speaker’s ruling on whether Edghill should leave or stay.
“It came back to this whole problem of scrutiny and Edghill’s role in the Estimates. And so the Speaker is insisting that Edghill leaves and I told him that the issue has gone beyond his ruling on whether Edghill should remain in the Chambers or not…So it is not a straight forward issue of a breach of the standing order any longer, it has several dimensions,” the Opposition Leader explained.
Jagdeo posited that the Speaker has refused to adjourn today’s sitting of National Assembly as such the Opposition has decided to stage a sit-in until the day’s proceedings come to an end at 10 pm.
According to Jagdeo, the chaotic situation which occurred today runs deeper and has to do with the Government’s attempt to avoid scrutiny. He said that the Budget Estimates are not accurate and are most likely illegal and should be withdrawn since they do not reflect the US$18 million signing bonus that the Government collected from ExxonMobil which should have been deposited in the Consolidated Fund.
He added that five days have been allocated for consideration of the Estimates even as the budget increased to over $267 billion which he said is questionable.
Jagdeo said, “we pointed out these restrictions and of the need for Parliamentarians to do their duties; that is to question the Estimates…At some point in time when we debate the Appropriations Bill; they will have to deal with this issue”.