MP Kissoon says assaulted at Congress Place

Breaking her silence on her suspension from the PNCR, parliamentarian Vanessa Kissoon says she was assaulted at the party’s headquarters in an incident in which she was not the aggressor and was later suspended before a meeting of the party’s Central Executive Committee was even convened.

In an e-mail response to a request for a comment by Stabroek News, Kissoon said that she had been reading articles in the media and hearing rumours that do not accurately represent what occurred on Friday, 20th June, 2014.

“At this time I prefer not to go into the details of the incident, save to say, that I was assaulted at Congress Place and I was not the aggressor…,” she said.

Vanessa Kissoon
Vanessa Kissoon

Stabroek News had been told that there was an altercation between PNCR General Secretary Oscar Clarke and Kissoon, apparently stemming from differences over the use of the party’s facilities in Linden.

According to Kissoon, she was subsequently sent an email by party leader David Granger on June 24th, notifying her of her suspension. Kissoon had previously stated to Stabroek News that she was not made formally aware of her suspension.

Kissoon said in the email, which was copied to party Chairman Basil Williams, vice-chairpersons George Norton and Volda Lawrence, Clarke and Deputy-General Secretary Amna Ally, Granger said he had received “credible complaints” about her conduct toward Clarke on Friday, June 20th. According to Kissoon, Granger also directed her “not to transact any business by or on behalf of the party until the matter is determined by the competent authority.”

According to Kissoon, she was alarmed by the course of action, especially since adjudicating credibility is best determined, if need be, by a duly-constituted disciplinary committee. “This act of ascribing “credibility” without due process conveys an unwillingness to arrive at the truth. I am disappointed that any source of “credible complaints” is sufficient to suspend me without a hearing, more so, used to violate my party’s constitution,” she said, while adding that the proposed suspension is in itself “a disciplinary act.”

“Any act of taking away my rights without proving me guilty is a clear transgression of my rights and the violation of the party rules,” she added, while referring to the party’s constitution.

The constitution states that the proper disciplinary authority in a respect of a complaint against any member shall be the Disciplinary Committee, the Group Committee or a Sub-Divisional Committee. It also states that the powers conferred on these disciplinary authorities shall not exclude the right of the party’s Congress, General Council or Central Executive Committee to exercise disciplinary authority or appoint any special person or committee to investigate and adjudicate upon any disciplinary matter.

Kissoon said she has since responded to Granger’s correspondence, detailing her concerns.

Stabroek News was unable to reach Granger for comment. He has so far made it clear that the person tasked with speaking on the issue was Clarke himself. When Stabroek News spoke with Clarke briefly on Tuesday, he refused to answer any questions in relation to any investigation being done by the Disciplinary Committee and if he thought would it not be more appropriate for him to recuse himself considering he was the other party involved in the incident. Clarke instead repeatedly stated, “I don’t have time for Vanessa Kissoon… I don’t have time for this.”

He also told Stabroek News that he was aware of the news articles and that he had nothing more to add since the newspaper was already adequately informed on the matter.

Questions have been raised about the PNCR’s transparency following the party’s reluctance to disclose details regarding Kissoon’s suspension.

Most recently, at a meeting held in Linden on Monday, PNCR members questioned the decision to suspend Kissoon while no action was taken against Clarke. Party members were vocal when they questioned why Clarke was tasked with assisting in the investigation of the incident, considering his personal involvement in the altercation.

Kissoon, who has strong support in party stronghold Linden, previously said that under the party’s constitution, “the member against whom the complaint has been made must be given in writing a short statement setting out clearly, with reasonable particulars, the nature of the allegations against him.”

The PNCR constitution also states that “the member must be given a reasonable opportunity to defend himself and to call witnesses and produce documents relevant to his defence” as well as “the member shall have the right to be assisted at the inquiry by a party member of his/her choice.” She said that none of the procedures were followed.

Latest in Local News

default placeholder

Confident Windies seek happy ending

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – West Indies will seek to write a happy ending to a promising Tri-Nations campaign when they clash with Australia in Sunday’s final, in a contest that brings together the champions of the Twenty20 and 50-overs World Cups.

default placeholder

Gov’t needs to put more money in economy – private sector head

The Private Sector Commission (PSC) says it is willing to work with the government in all of its endeavours but it needs to increase spending in the economy.

default placeholder

Private sector calls for full public debate on parking meters

Full public debate on the proposed installation of parking meters in the capital was called for yesterday by the Private Sector Commission (PSC).

Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith

No politics at UG

Less than two weeks after he assumed office as the Tenth Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana Professor Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith has said that he is not prepared to be the VC of a university where politics intrudes and undermines the work of students and faculty.

default placeholder

Cops getting crowd control training in China

Twenty ranks of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) are now in China undergoing specialised training, GINA said on Thursday. Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan said the training is a result of a promise previously made by the Chinese government.

default placeholder

Guyana awaiting UN chief’s move on border controversy

Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge yesterday assured that United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is still actively considering the way forward to resolve the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy.

default placeholder

Fury over some appointments to Linden TV station Board

The addition of some persons to the Board of Trustees of Region 10 Broadcasting Inc (RBI) has generated controversy with at least one regional councillor threatening protests over the appointments and the manner in which they were done.

Robin Raymond Elkanah Gordon

Body of missing Parfait Harmonie man pulled from canal

The partially decomposed body of a man who was missing for two days, was yesterday afternoon found in a canal at Onderneeming, Parfait Harmonie, West Bank Demerara, a short distance from his home.


About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: