Dec 18, 2017 News
Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Barton Scotland doesn’t see the need for an investigation into last Monday’s clash between the People’s Progressive Party’s (PPP/C) members and ranks of the Guyana Police Force inside the Parliament chamber.
The PPP/C had called for a probe into the incident, along with an apology from the Speaker for the presence of police ranks when MP Bishop Juan Edghill refused to obey the Speaker’s order to leave the sitting after refusing to stop speaking when ordered to.
“I know that a member of the National Assembly misconducted himself in an extraordinary way. That was the first order of business that we should be dealing with, but I don’t need to investigate that. Bad behaviour or poor manners is poor manners or bad behaviour. We don’t need an investigation for that,” Dr. Barton stated.
Dr. Barton had instructed the Sergeant-at-Arms to remove Edghill from the sitting, but again he refused. The Speaker suspended the sitting and subsequently junior ranks arrived. Several PPP/C MPs had surrounded Edghill, preventing the police access. A physical altercation ensued.
“I am sure whatever the facts are they will reveal themselves. I am sure after all you [media] know the facts. I don’t have to investigate,’ Dr. Barton stated.
Dr. Barton stated that he would not distance himself from the events that transpired at the Parliament.
“The buck stops with the Speaker. At the end of the day, the Speaker is the person at the head of the National Assembly,” Dr. Barton said.
Acting Police Commissioner, David Ramnarine has since conceded that police ranks should not have been in the Chambers and that important lessons had been learnt.
Since Parliament returned from recess, the very first sitting on November 2, was marred by controversial behaviour when PPP/C MPs waved placards and shouted slogans that drowned out the address by President David Granger.
That was followed by the incident involving Edghill. Then two Fridays ago, a woman in ‘Santa Claus’ attire, entered the Parliament Chamber and attempted to present Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo with an Oxford Dictionary.
Indications are that the woman came in properly dressed and changed her clothes in the MPs bathroom.
Ramnarine stated this was “nothing near to a security breach, as the woman in question was permitted to enter the Public Viewing Gallery by security officials of Parliament Office Security.”
“It is my view, after making the requisite enquiries, that this was no more than just a prank.”
On Tuesday, two plainclothes policemen had sat at the press table at parliament. Some of the journalists had complained to the Clerk of the National Assembly about their presence.
On Thursday, a woman was escorted from the Parliament Chamber by security when she started singing, ‘God is watching us’
“I wish to state that the two young plainclothes policemen were not properly nor thoroughly briefed and also did not follow the specific instructions given, for if they were, they would not have found themselves in the Chambers of Parliament.
Notwithstanding, the Acting has assured the public that enhanced security measures have been put in place.
“The Guyana Police Force in collaboration with its senior colleagues in the Sister Services has reviewed and enhanced security arrangements in and around Parliament and is satisfied that the security of Parliament in these times is assured,” Ramnarine stated.
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