Speaker of the National Assembly Manzoor Nadir on Thursday afternoon suspended Opposition Chief Whip Christopher Jones and Alliance For Change (AFC) Member of Parliament (MP) Sherod Duncan from the National Assembly for disrupting the sitting. Opposition MP Sherwayne Holder was also suspended for refusing to sit in the Assembly.
Jones along with other Opposition MPs earlier in the day forced the Speaker to suspend the sitting of the National Assembly after they stood and banged on their tables calling on Minister with responsibility for Public Affairs Kwame McCoy to leave the house.
It is alleged that McCoy on Wednesday assaulted Opposition MP Tabitha Sarabo-Halley while at the Arthur Chung Conference Center.
When the sitting reconvened in the afternoon, Jones said “In keeping with our position mentioned to you earlier, our position remains the same requesting the honourable member Kwame McCoy to leave the precincts of the Assembly in order for us to proceed with the consideration of these estimates.”
To this, the Speaker pointed out that a proper motion can be tabled in the house in line with the Standing Orders for that to be considered. He then requested that the Opposition MPs be seated but they did not comply.
“Mr. Jones I am once again calling on you and your members to please be seated,” the Speaker said but he was ignored as the banging on the desks continued.
As such Mr. Nadir indicated that he is suspending the Chief Whip from the sitting.
“Honourable member Mr. Jones I’ve [asked] three times to take your seat along with the members who are standing. At this point, honourable member Mr. Jones, you’re going to be suspended for the rest of the sitting” the Speaker said.
The protest action continued as the Speaker forge ahead with the approval of budgetary allocations for several Ministries and sub-agencies.
Moments later, MP Duncan was suspended from the sitting after being warned to shut off his video recording device in the Assembly as this contravenes a Standing Order governing the conduct of Parliamentarians.
Budgetary allocations for the Ministries of Labour, Education, Local Government and Regional Development, Tourism, Industry and Commerce among others were approved on Thursday afternoon without any scrutiny from the political opposition as those MPs walked out of the house. y