APNU+AFC Members of Parliament Christopher Jones, Ganesh Mahipaul, Natasha Singh-Lewis, and Sherod Duncan to be re-instated in the National Assembly following suspension.

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AFC Member of Parliament, Sherod Duncan (Top left) APNU Member of Parliament, Ganesh Mahipaul (Bottom right) APNU Member of Parliament, Natasha Singh-Lewis (Top right) APNU Member of Parliament, Christopher Jones (Bottom left)

Four of the eight APNU+AFC lawmakers who were suspended from the National Assembly in December 2021 for misbehaving while the Natural Resource Fund Bill was being passed are expected to return for the next parliamentary session.

Sherod Duncan, Christopher Jones, Ganesh Mahipaul, and Natasha Singh-Lewis are anticipated to return to the House at the next sitting after having their suspension was upheld by the National Assembly in July of this year due to the removal of the mace in December 2021. This decision followed recommendations by the Parliamentary Committee of Privileges.

Annette Ferguson, Christopher Jones, Ganesh Mahipaul, Vinceroy Jordan, Tabitha Sarabo-Halley, Sherod Duncan, Maureen Philadelphia, and Natasha Singh-Lewis were suspended on July 22 without pay and other benefits.

Following their ‘disruptive’ behavior in opposition to the Natural Resource Fund Bill’s approval, the Parliamentary Privileges Committee recommended that Members of Parliament Jones, Mahipaul, Duncan, and Singh- Lewis be suspended for four consecutive National Assembly sittings.

The committee also suggested suspending Ferguson and Jordan for six consecutive meetings due to their improper behavior on the night of December 29, 2021.

The suspension became effective at a time when the opposition had filed an application at the High Court to block the National Assembly from implementing the recommendations of the committee.

Mahipaul informed They Break News that his suspension has been officially lifted as of Tuesday and that he would be returning to work with the Public Accounts Committee and other parliamentary committees on Monday. After two sittings, it is anticipated that the remaining MPs will return to the National Assembly.

“Notwithstanding that our matters in the courts continue, and we still hold the position that we were wrongfully suspended, not given a fair hearing and due process was not followed,” Mahipaul noted.

High Court Judge Damone Younge is anticipated to rule on the matter on January 16, 2023, according to attorney at law Selwyn Pieters, who is defending the MPs.

The High Court’s rejection to grant an interim conservatory order to allow eight Opposition Members of Parliament who have been suspended, to attend sittings of the National Assembly, and to receive their salaries was challenged by Member of Parliament Roysdale Forde, S.C., but the court rejected his motion in October. It is likely that the National Assembly will meet again in 2023.

Attorney-at-law, Selwyn Pieters

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