Antigua house speaker given until Thursday to rescind MP’s suspension

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room
MP Asot Michael being removed from House

LOOP: An attorney representing Independent Member of Parliament Asot Michael has given Speaker of the House of Assembly, Sir Gerald Watt, until Thursday to rescind his suspension.

In a legal letter, attorney Hugh Marshall contended that Watt acted outside of the standing orders (SO) when he asked parliamentarians to suspend Michael, the Member of Parliament for the St Peter constituency, for three sittings.

Marshall said the House of Representatives “had no power to make standing orders providing for the suspension of a member and SO 50(7) was, accordingly, unconstitutional, null and void”.

He added that “even if the House did have the power to make rules providing for the suspension of a member, it had no power to make rules providing for the suspension of a member for three or more sittings and SO 50(8) was, accordingly, unconstitutional, null and void”.

Marshall stated the suspension was imposed simply to punish Michael and it did not follow the mandatory procedural steps specified by SO 50(7).

The lawyer highlighted that Watt did not take similar action against his colleagues on the government benches when they engaged in cross talk with Michael, who was forcibly removed from the May 18 sitting for displaying what the speaker termed hooligan behaviour.

The attorney has asked that Watt confirm in writing that he will not prevent Michael from attending upcoming sitting.

“Unless we receive your written confirmation by close of business Thursday 25th May 2023, we will be compelled to commence appropriate legal proceedings to protect the rights of our Client as enshrined in the Constitution,” Marshall added.

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