Edghill summoned before privileges committee over statement on ministerial salary increases

PPP/C Member of Parliament Juan Edghill has been summoned to appear before the Privileges Committee today over statements he made last year about the salary increase given to government ministers.

According to a release from the Office of the Opposition Leader, Clerk of the National Assembly Sherlock Isaacs wrote to Edghill on Tuesday and informed him that he is expected to attend a meeting of the committee today at 11am.

Speaker Dr. Barton Scotland, who is the chair of the Privileges Committee, ruled that Edghill would be referred to the committee in light of a motion, moved by APNU+AFC MP Charrandas Persaud and supported by his colleague Jermaine Figueira.

The motion referred to a statement Edghill made during a speech in December last year relating to the salary increases of government ministers. He had said they amounted to the ministers receiving over $200M annually. Edghill was asked to withdraw the statement and apologise but he failed to so and Persaud said the matter should be taken to the Privileges Committee since the statement and his later refusal to apologise or withdraw the statement violated the privileges of the National Assembly and “brought the entire National Assembly into disrepute.”

In its release, which was issued on Wednesday, the PPP/C said that while Edghill has been advised to attend the meeting, the opposition believes the government along with a Speaker, who it said is yet to demonstrate impartiality, will ensure that the process is less-than fair.

“Bishop Edghill is not alone as all of his colleagues are in full support of him and join in rebuking the government’s misuse of the parliamentary rules and procedures as well as its continued disregard for standing parliamentary norms and traditions,” the PPP/C said.

According to the PPP/C, Edghill being taken before the Committee at this time is part of a revenge plot by the government since the opposition successfully moved a motion to have Public Health Minister Dr. George Norton sent before the Committee for “deliberately and repeatedly misleading the house and lying on his Ministry’s shameful procurement of a bottom-house bond to store pharmaceuticals and medical supplies.”

It pointed out too that the decision comes just two days after Edghill moved another significant motion which called on the government to come clean on the financing of the controversial multi-million dollar D’Urban Park Project. “His move again caused the government embarrassment and exposed another plot aimed at deceiving Guyanese about a project shrouded in secrecy,” it said.

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