KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, (CMC) — Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves Wednesday said both common law and statue laws allow for a Member of Parliament to have the right of “unhindered access” to, and egress from, Parliament and its precincts.
“I for one will never allow the crazies and their fellow-travellers to hinder or impede my access to Parliament. I will walk again, as I did on August 5th, if needs be. And let the silly ones blame the victim in his exercise of his rights,” Gonsalves added.
In a statement, Gonsalves, who suffered an injury last Thursday when supporters of the New Development Party (NDP) and two public sector trade unions, staged a protest outside the Parliament building against plans by his government to have front line workers vaccinated against COVID-19, said two pieces of legislation addresses the issue of unhindered access to Parliament by legislators.
He said the Public Order Act and the House of Assembly Privileges, Powers and Immunities Act create “criminal offences punishable by fines and imprisonment in important particulars of contemporary relevance given the unlawful wounding of the Prime Minister and other egregious examples of illegal conduct by several protesters…”
Gonsalves said the current Public Order Act first came into effect in 1951 and was subsequently amended on nine occasions, the last being in 1987 under the NDP administration.