Edghill arrested, barred from entering Parliament

first_imgDrama continues…legal action to follow – NandlallBy Lakhram BhagiratActing on instructions from the Speaker of the National Assembly, Police on Tuesday barred Opposition parliamentarian Bishop Juan Edghill from entering the Public Building and he was subsequently arrested.This move comes in light of Edghill’s refusal to remove from the parliamentary chambers after he was ordered to by House Speaker, Dr Barton Scotland, who on Monday accused the Member of Parliament of being out of order.Bishop Juan Edghill making his way to the Brickdam Police Station along with his attorney, Anil NandlallThe drama started when Edghill arrived at the entrance of Brickdam and High Street where he was informed by a traffic rank that he was not allowed to enter. This move was a well-planned one, since there was a heightened Police presence outside the Parliament Building. All vehicles entering the compound were stopped and checked by the Police prior to gaining approval to enter.Following the refusal of entry, Edghill persistently questioned the Police ranks as to the reason for the denial and queried if he was being arrested. Senior Superintendent Azore informed him that it was the instruction of the Speaker to deny him entry and to arrest him.During the fracas, approximately 20 Police Officers prevented him from moving forward, surrounding Edghill while Government supporters hurled insults at the parliamentarian. The ordeal lasted close to 45 minutes and resulted in the MP being arrested and escorted to the Brickdam Police Station.He opted to walk the few blocks from High Street to the Station where he and his attorney, fellow People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) MP, Anil Nandlall engaged the media.MP Juan Edghill at the Brickdam Police StationEdghill said that by ordering his arrest, the Government is seeking to avoid the scrutiny of the flawed 2018 budget.“Scrutiny is what the Government wants to avoid and even though I am being victimised in this manner, I will ask my colleagues, as far as is possible, to continue to scrutinise the Budget and to expose the corruption, slush funds and all the monies they (Government) plan to steal for political purposes stashed in that budget,” he charged.“That budget is lumped with sums for political purposes and we will not run away from our task. I would hope that the budget gets the scrutiny it deserves, because the plan of the Government is to pass the budget without scrutiny and we will not give into that game plan,” Edghill added.He was subsequently released approximately two hours after his arrest. Before Edghill was released on his own recognisance, Nandlall noted that Edghill was confronted with an allegation that he assaulted a peace officer outside Parliament while he was being arrested.Referring to the media, Nandlall said: “Now, all of you were there and you would have seen and recorded what transpired, so we had to deal with that, because that never occurred; that was simply a concoction put there to justify the unlawful arrest and detention of the Bishop. We refused to sign that and he was released on his own recognisance.”Unlawful arrestMeanwhile, Nandlall constantly told the Officers that they were executing an unlawful arrest since they had no grounds for arresting the parliamentarian. He noted that the Speaker has no authority over the conduct of the Guyana Police Force and, as such, he was overstepping when he instructed the officers to arrest the MP.“If the Bishop enters the Assembly, he has the authority I suppose to stop him from participating, but he can’t stop him from entering into the Public Building and arrest him on the road. Where did he get that authority from?” Nandlall questioned.“…and then last night you heard, the Speaker said to the press that he did not instruct these arrests and he did not call in the Police; so whose instructions is the Police acting on?” Nandlall further questioned.“Now this matter has gone way outside of Parliament and we are now dealing with the laws of the country outside of Parliament and in the laws of the country outside of the Parliament, Bishop Edghill has not committed any wrong. Forget what happened in the Parliament, we are not in the Parliament anymore so why is he being arrested? This matter definitely will have to engage the attention of the courts,” Nandlall added.He noted that the Speaker and the Clerk of the National Assembly, in addition to every other person involved in the unlawful arrest, would have to answer to the courts, both in their personal and official capacities.Time to sueEdghill’s parliamentary colleague and attorney noted that these persons responsible for the “unlawful” arrest and detention would be sued, both in their personal and official capacities.“We were told that instructions came from the Parliament; we were told that instructions came from superior officers within the Police Force; we were told that ministerial directions were also given, so on every one of those, the arrest and detention would have been unlawful,” he contended.Nandlall maintained that the Speaker has no authority outside the National Assembly and this client and colleague committed no civil or criminal wrong. He noted that there were Standing Orders governing the workings of the National Assembly and if those were violated, there were procedures to deal with them.“We have to sue every single person who we believe are implicated in this unlawful travesty and that includes suing them in their personal, as well as in their official capacity,” he stressed.He mentioned that such action was necessary so as to prevent similar actions from reoccurring in the future.Edghill remains suspended until Friday, December 15.last_img

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