Snatching of Speaker’s Mace: Court denies suspended APNU/AFC MPs application to attend Parliament

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Lawyer Selwyn Pieters’s request for eight APNU/AFC Members of Parliament (MPs) to attend sittings of the National Assembly despite them being suspended by the Parliamentary Committee of Privileges for unacceptable behaviour, has been denied by High Court Judge Damone Younge.

The next sitting of Parliament is on Monday.

A tug-of-war between APNU+AFC MPs and Parliament Staff after the Opposition Parliamentarians stole the mace from Speaker Manzoor Nadir in December 2021

Opposition Chief Whip Christopher Jones, Ganesh Mahipaul, Sherod Duncan, Natasha Singh-Lewis, Annette Ferguson, Vinceroy Jordan, Tabitha Sarabo-Halley, and Maureen Philadelphia, were officially suspended last month for participating in the infamous grabbing of the Speaker’s Mace and disruptions of the National Assembly sitting on December 29, 2021.

The suspended MPs, however, are challenging their suspension at the High Court.

Against Attorney General Anil Nandlall, SC; House Speaker Manzoor Nadir; and Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs, they are, among other things, seeking a declaration that the report of the Parliamentary Committee of Privileges is unconstitutional, null, void, and of no legal effect; and is a breach of the principles of natural justice, as their rights, as guaranteed under Article 144 (8) of the Constitution, have been infringed.

Further, they are seeking an order suspending any decision, resolution, or other determination made by the National Assembly to suspend them; and a further order that they are allowed to perform their duties until they have been afforded the right to be heard before the Parliamentary Sessional Select Committee of Privileges, pending the hearing and determination of their case.

During a hearing of their Fixed Date Application (FDA) on Thursday, Justice Younge said that while she heard submissions from the respective parties, at this stage of the proceedings, she was not minded granting any interim orders without having considered Nandlall’s Notice of Application (NoA). In that application, the Attorney General is seeking an order granting an extension of time to file and serve an Application in Defence to the MPs amended FDA filed on July 28.

The Opposition MPs were granted until August 8 to file an Affidavit in Answer to the AG’s NoA. Arguments on the application for an extension of time will be heard on August 10.