Despite a demand for an apology, Speaker of the National Assembly Raphael Trotman this afternoon announced that he is lifting the gag order on Education Minister Priya Manickchand.
Just after today’s sitting began he said that after reviewing a video leading up to and after the ‘minor incident’ he has decided to allow her to speak in the house if she wishes.
He said too that he does not want a debate on the matter.
The Speaker had banned her for not apologizing for heckling directed at APNU MP Jaipaul Sharma. APNU MP Volda Lawrence was at the time stating that more needed to be done to assist young women who were victims of sexual assault including statutory rape. Manickchand then heckled that APNU had to ask in house about certain allegations.
“I will not recognize you to speak in this assembly…on any day of this debate if that is the attitude you are going to take”, Trotman told Manickchand on Tuesday on the last of the numerous attempts she made to interrupt him.
The speaker said that he heard exactly what Manickchand had stated and that it was out of order. He called the comments “dastardly” and that no member of parliament needed to venture into that territory. When asked to apologize, Manickchand stood her ground saying that she was in a “tight position”. She said it was not Jaipaul Sharma she was referring to but his father CN Sharma. Trotman however was not amused or moved.
MP Sharma was not in Parliament but his father CN Sharma is in the public gallery.
Prior to the Speaker’s ruling, APNU issued the following statement today:
APNU Supports Jaipaul Sharma and rejects Priya Manickchand’s “Statement.”
A Partnership for National Unity is dissatisfied with the statement of the Minister of Education Ms. Priya Manickchand to APNU Member of Parliament Mr. Jaipaul Sharma. The Minister was heard to utter unsavory and totally unacceptable remarks during the Budget debates on Tuesday 3rd April 2014
Speaker of the National Assembly Mr. Raphael Trotman correctly called on her to apologise. APNU feels that the Speaker’s Ruling was justified, that Ms. Manickchand would not be recognized during the 2014 Budget debates unless she apologized to Mr. Sharma. Ms. Manickchand issued a statement the following day but APNU is far from satisfied with its content.
Mr. Jaipaul Sharma is a vital member of the APNU team. The Partnership stands solidly in support of him.