Jaipaul Sharma resigns as MP; protest ensues outside Parliament for Manickchand’s apology

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By Kurt Campbell

APNU Member, Jaipaul Sharma speaks to members of the media after submitting his resignation. [iNews' Photo]
APNU Member, Jaipaul Sharma speaks to members of the media after submitting his resignation. [iNews’ Photo]
[www.inewsguyana.com] – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Member of Parliament Jaipaul Sharma has reigned from the National Assembly following a heckling incident in the House on Tuesday, April 01.

Education Minister Priya Manickchand had heckled “ask the APNU member Sharma” while MP Volda Lawrence was addressing the issue of rape in the society during her very emotive presentation.

Currently several persons are protesting outside the House where budget debates are ongoing in wake of Mainikchand’s refusal to issue an apology to Sharma.

“No apology no speech… our children need good examples… she acting like a hooligan, please step down.”

Sharma told reporters it was a decision he took after considering the matter carefully and believes the PPP will use the matter to cause the APNU to lose votes.

“I don’t want to be the individual to cause the APNU to lose votes,” Sharma said as he noted that there was a possibility that the ruling PPP may call snap elections, adding that “I don’t want to be a political football.”

He said he believes he did the right thing and made it clear that it was solely because of Tuesday’s incident that he has resigned.

Notwithstanding the refusal to issue an apology, Speaker of the National Assembly, Raphael Trotman has lifted the ban he placed on Manickchand to participate in the budget debates 2014.

The Speaker told the House moments ago that after reviewing the events on video, both leading up to the incident and after and taking into account what was said by both Manickchand and Sharma, he will not be hindering her from participating in the debates.

Trotman said it was clear that the APNU member did not feel impugned by the statement and believed it referred to his father who is not an MP.

CN Sharma and Leader of the AFC, Khemraj Ramjattan at Parliament building. [Neil Marks Photo]
CN Sharma and Leader of the AFC, Khemraj Ramjattan at Parliament building. [Neil Marks Photo]
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader David Granger said he did not receive any resignation but will be moving to advise Sharma against it.

“The budget is important and he is a valued member of our team… he is in several committees and we would like to discuss this matter with Sharma.”

He said he was personally not satisfied with the statements by Manickchand.

The Speaker had asked the Minister to apologize. Trotman said then “I deem it to be highly improper and if you don’t apologize I will not recognize you to participate in this debate.”

Manickchand stood to her feet after the objection was raised by Sharma and the Speaker and refused to apologize.

She said she was in no way hitting at MP Sharma. There were allegations of rape leveled against the father of MP Sharma, CN Sharma.

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