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The suspension of a Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Members of Parliament (MPs) Ms. Natasha Singh Lewis and Messrs. Sherrod Duncan, Ganesh Mahipaul, and Christopher Jones has ended.
The MPs via letter dated December 7th from Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr. Sherlock Isaacs were informed the suspension from the House ended at the “adjournment of 52nd Sitting on the 5th December 2022.” The MPs were also informed their salary and allowances would recommence from December 6, 2022.
MPs Tabitha Sarabo-Halley, Annette Ferguson, Maureen Philadelphia, and Vinceroy Jordan remain suspended.
Last July MPs Christopher Jones (Opposition Chief Whip), Ganesh Mahipaul, Tabitha Sarabo-Halley, Sherod Duncan, Vinceroy Jordan, Natasha Singh-Lewis, Annette Ferguson and Maureen Philadelphia received letters of suspension.
MPs Ferguson, Jordan, Sarabo-Halley and Philadelphia were suspended for six consecutive sittings of the National Assembly. MPs Singh Lewis, Duncan, Mahipaul, and Jones were suspended for four consecutive sittings of the National Assembly.
The suspension is based on the Government-dominated Privileges Committee’s decision the MPs were engaged in gross disorderly conduct, contempt, and breaches of privileges in the Assembly regarding actions during sitting on December 29, 2021. On said day, the Government was moving to amend the Natural Resources Fund Act which the Opposition MPs felt was being rushed and lacked consultation. During the sitting an altercation broke out that also saw seizure of the mace, the symbol of authority in the House, by the Opposition MPs.
The MPs have contended the suspension was handed down in violation of their right to natural justice, i.e. they were never given the opportunity to be heard and/or represented at the Privileges Committee. They have since filed action asking the Court to nullify the Committee’s decision
A source told Village Voice News the suspension, in hindsight, shows it was deliberate to effect changes to electoral laws and remove the safeguard to prevent voter fraud. Last week the Government passed Bills that removed residency requirements to vote and also removed the previous stringent security to verify registration of birth. According to the source, the suspension was a premeditated act to reduce the Opposition’s strength in the National Assembly because even with the Government one seat majority, were the Opposition in full complement they could have put up robust representation.