…denies calling Police into Parliament
Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland, on Monday evening denied that he called in Members of the Guyana Police Force to remove Opposition Parliamentarian Juan Edghill from the National Assembly.
During a press conference, the Speaker said Edghill was suspended from the day’s proceedings in accordance with Standing Order 47 (2), which states: “The Speaker or the Chairperson shall order any Member whose conduct is grossly disorderly to withdraw immediately from the Assembly during the remainder of that day’s sitting, and may direct such steps to be taken as are required to enforce this order. But if, on any occasion, the Speaker or the Chairperson considers that his or her powers under the previous provision of this Standing Order are inadequate, the Speaker or Chairperson may name such Member for disregarding the authority of the Chair under this Standing Order, in which event the procedure prescribed in the next paragraph should be followed.”
Scotland said he did not instruct members of the Guyana Police Force to remove the Opposition MP from the Parliament chamber. The Speaker said he is unaware of who took the action in this regard.
He noted that the Opposition MP was disallowed from continuing, since the procedures on time were discussed and agreed to during a meeting from which the Opposition absconded.
Dr. Scotland reminded that the parliamentary procedures have been in existence for a number of years, and MPs have agreed to, and should abide by, them.
The Speaker said Edghill’s refusal to leave the House is a first-time occurrence in the history of the Parliament of Guyana. According to the Speaker, he will continue to act “correctly and fairly,” noting, “If I have to question you, if I have to upbraid you, I will do it.”In response to a question posed by the media, Scotland said that, even in hindsight, he does not see a better way of resolving the issue other than by suspending MP Edghill for the day.
He indicated that the rules of the House must be respected and abided by at all times, even if a member is uncomfortable with such an order. During the late Monday night press conference, the Speaker also denied that he had ordered the media out of the Parliament chambers, claiming that he merely questioned the continued presence of media operatives after the sitting was suspended.
He also said there is no need for an investigation, since it is simply a matter of respecting the rules of the House. However, he did not address the issue of who had instructed the Police to enter the Parliament chambers.