Speaker of the National Assembly Dr. Barton Scotland yesterday chided Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) and former Attorney General Anil Nandlall, for going against the Standing Order that prevents MPs
from referencing ongoing High Court matters.
Nandlall made reference to an ongoing case in relation to Tax Practice Certificates where the Minster of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan “went into the witness box”.
This was repeated several times during Nandlall’s presentation. A standing order which allowed Ramjattan to interject, informed the speaker that the matter on which Nandlall was referencing, was still ongoing in the Courts.
The Speaker then reminded Nandlall that standing orders do not allow the mentioning of matters which are before the courts and suggested that he “do what you know you should do”
Nandlall replied, “Sir may I….”
“No, you may not, you listen to me now, standing orders do not allow us to make mention of matters which are before the Court,” the Speaker interjected.
Nandlall in his response stated, “Sir, the standing orders do not say that you cannot mention a matter that is in the court, the standing order says that you cannot mention that matter in such a way as to prejudice the proceedings”.
This response by Nandlall resulted in a resounding hand tapping from the side of the opposition.
Dr. Scotland, with the Standing Orders in front of him, informed the house, “reference should not be made to any matter which is sub judice in such a way as might, in the opinion of the chair, prejudice the interest of parties thereto,”
The Speaker then recommended that Nandlall withdraw his statement. However, Nandlall stated that he will maintain that there is a challenge in the court.
The Speaker again interjected, “Honourable member…I recommended that you withdraw it and start again”.
“I want to make reference to a case that is pending in the court and I wish to assure you, your honour that I will not say anything to prejudice the outcome of the proceedings,” Nandlall replied.
“I give you that, but give the chair what is provided, that is, to determine whether in his opinion, it is likely to do that,” the Speaker responded. “I await your response before you proceed”
“I withdraw the statement,” Nandlall said as he continued his presentation.
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