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Sunday 26 May 2019
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Moonilal accused privileges committee of contempt

MP for Oropouche East  Roodal Moonilal.
MP for Oropouche East Roodal Moonilal.

OROPOUCHE East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal is questioning the Parliament's privileges committee meeting on Tuesday and deciding to discontinue one of two complaints of contempt against him.

He said an application for an injunction, heard in the San Fernando High Court on Tuesday, effectively stayed the holding of any such meeting.

Referring to his matter before Justice Avason Quinlan, Moonilal said, “The speaker, appearing through senior counsel, injuncted herself by informing the court that the interested party is prepared to give an undertaking that hearing of allegations, as to whether the claimant (Moonilal) committed a contempt of the House on October 9 and 10, 2018, will be adjourned until hearing and determination of the allegations.”

On Wednesday, the Parliament’s corporate communications department issued a media release in which it said despite statements in the public domain, there was no injunction issued by any court restraining the committee of privileges from meeting.

“The Speaker nor the committee of privileges had been served and no pre-action protocol letter was received by Parliament,” the release said.

Moonilal, however, contended that based on the undertaking given in court, the committee violated the court’s order.

“The committee met under the chairmanship of the Speaker and decided to discontinue one of the matters against me. This was the matter that pertained to the statements made regarding Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley. The meeting of the committee is in clear violation of the order of the court, since the Speaker had assured the court that there would be no hearing of the allegations until the substantive claim is resolved.”

Moonilal said he will raise the issue with the judge when the matter comes up in the Hall of Justice on April 2.

He also took issue with the release, saying that proceedings of the committee are not to be made public before the committee presents its report to the House.

“The proceedings of and the evidence taken at a meeting of a select committee or sub-committee, and any documents presented to, and decisions of, such a committee shall not be published by any member thereof or by any other person, before the committee has presented its report to the House.”

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