by Denis Chabrol (Demerara Waves) The eight opposition A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) parliamentarians were early Friday morning suspended for allegedly participating in unrest in the National Assembly, despite pending High Court action to block consideration of the Privileges Committee Report.
The opposition legislators want the court to find that their constitutional right to a fair hearing has been violated because they had, in response to a show cause letter, had asked for details of the allegations but none was provided by the Committee. A number of them were seen and heard on live video walking around the Chamber, blowing whistles and forcibly removing the mace in an effort to prevent debate and passage of the Natural Resource Fund law on the grounds that there was inadequate consultation with the opposition and civil society.
Attorney General Anil Nandlall said the work of the National Assembly was firewalled by the separation of powers including the discipline and conduct of the Parliament. “Those are intrinsically and inherently parliamentary functions,” he said, resulting in the need for the executive and the judiciary having to be careful that it does not trespass. “Proceedings have been filed in a mother arm, the judiciary, that seeks to challenge what parliament is seeking to do. Now, right there, there is an apparent conflict because this is a parliamentary function and it is my respectful submission, Sir, that in this particular situation, it is the judiciary that must exercise vigilance, circumspection, caution and care that it does not exceed and trespass into the provincial responsibility of this Parliament; it’s not the other way around,” he said.