Apr 25, 2013 News Comments Off on MP’s have parliamentary privileges speaker tells Rohee
…as Minister asks police to question MP over ‘criminal cabal’ statement
A recent statement in the National Assembly suggesting that the ruling party is a criminal cabal has led to one Parliamentarian being asked last Saturday to report to the police or face the possibility of ranks visiting him.
The incident has been one of the many characterizing the considerations of the 2013 National Budget which has been riddled by reductions of the estimates, numerous press statements and conferences, and back and forth accusations.
Yesterday, Desmond Trotman, a backbencher for A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), said that he refuses to be intimidated by Home Affairs Minister for making the statement during his contribution to the debates.
House Speaker, Raphael Trotman, based on the complaint of “intimidation”, made it clear that Members of Parliament (MPs) are protected under the privileges of the National Assembly, especially as Trotman seems to be merely reporting what he heard.
Trotman, during his remarks, last week said: “Let me take this opportunity to offer some advice to the Hon. Finance Ministry of this minority government-you should get out of your ivory tower and go on the streets. You will be surprised when you hear what the people are saying. You will hear them saying to the majority that in the PPP/C we have a criminal cabal and a dictatorship to dismantle and dismantle it we must.”
Following those words last week about his party, the Minister attempted to have the words withdrawn or struck from the records.
The Speaker had ruled, then, that the statements did not trespass beyond the boundaries of Parliamentary privileges as Trotman was only reporting what people were saying.
In his complaint yesterday, Trotman said that following his presentation, on Saturday he received a letter from the Minister indicating that the Commissioner of Police has been written to on the matter.
“In that regard, I now write to you requesting that you provide the Guyana Police Force with any concrete information you may have about this PPP criminal cabal. After all, the Ministry of Home Affairs is committed to dismantling of any criminal cabal, wherever they might be.”
The Minister went further. “Failing your submission of any such information to the police, the Commissioner has been requested to dispatch ranks to question you on the said matter.”
Yesterday, Trotman said the letter raised the “spectre of the abuse of power and threatens the fundamental rights of Guyanese including the political opponents of the government.”
He believed that the letter was clearly intended to intimidate him.
Trotman had a message to the Minister: “I wish to use this opportunity to place on the record the following response to the Hon. Minister: Under no circumstances will I be cooperating with the police in this charade.”
The MP urged the Minister to institute charges and place him before the court if he felt so strongly about the statements. “But I assure the Hon. Minister that I will not be intimidated into silence.”
Both APNU and the Alliance For Change (AFC) control 33 seats in the National Assembly following the 2011 General and Regional Elections— a slim one-seat majority.
The House has been divided following cuts to the National Budget last year and again this year.
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