Govt says Panday out of place

Trade and Industry Minister Dr Keith Rowley said the Standing Order 43(5) which was used by House Speaker Barry Sinanan to suspend Panday, was used by former Attorney General (now Chief Whip) Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj on the directive of former House Speaker Rupert Griffith, on May 24, 2001 to suspend him (Rowley) for speaking out about corruption in the Piarco Airport Project.

Rowley said the Opposition could not now defend Panday who was “being blatantly disrespectful of the ruling of the Chair.”

Speaking with reporters after the adjournment of the House, Imbert said, “I was as surprised as everyone else. It has nothing to do with the Government. There was no discussion between myself and the Speaker or any official of the Parliament prior to this. This was an action taken by the Speaker.”

Imbert said the Standing Orders were very clear and “I simply did what was required under the Standing Orders.”

Asked if Government was concerned that Panday would return to Parliament next week and defy the Speaker again, Imbert replied, “That’s a matter for the Speaker. We’ll have a sitting next Friday as normal.” Rowley said all 41 MPs received the Speaker’s memo about the use of laptops in parliamentary debates and Panday is the only one to disobey it.

“If we need to change the regulations to allow us to use laptops then let’s do it. While the regulations don’t permit it, you can’t say to hell with the regulations and to hell with the Speaker. This is what Mr Panday is saying,” Rowley declared.

Recalling that he abided by Griffith’s ruling in 2001 when he was suspended, Rowley said, “It is not a question of the content of the ruling. This question is that the Speaker made a ruling. You might not agree with the ruling for whatever reason but members cannot decide that they are disobeying the ruling of the Speaker.”

Education Minister Esther Le Gendre said Panday’s action was perplexing because only this week, Panday stated he “will not be participating in any of the debates of the House.” Le Gendre said Panday “tested the Speaker on the wrong day and was dealt with appropriately.”

Social Development Minister Dr Amery Browne said the Opposition’s action in the House was a continuation of the bad behaviour which started with Panday wiping his hands with a handkerchief after shaking hands with Prime Minister Patrick Manning at the ceremonial opening of the Ninth Parliament on December 17. Browne expressed concern about the negative effect the Opposition’s defiance could have on the nation’s children.


"Govt says Panday out of place"

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