At the 46th Sitting of the National Assembly, on Wednesday, May 10, 2023, I disallowed a request from the Hon. Ganesh Mahipaul to adjourn the Assembly to discuss a matter of urgent public importance concerning a motion to discuss oil spill liability coverage.
The matter did not qualify as a definite matter of urgent importance, since I was of the view that the matter was sub-judice. It should be noted that I had previously ruled that a matter becomes sub-judice if a judge is assigned to the case, a date is given and the case has reached a stage of evidence before the court.
It was mischievous of the Hon. Member Mahipaul to bring the motion when he knew fully that the matter did not qualify. He just wanted to grandstand and play for an audience which the APNU-AFC is familiar with.
I wish to state that at 7:17 p.m. on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, I received the request from Hon. Mahipaul for the adjournment of the Assembly. I was already aware, through a Inews release, at 5:10 p.m., two (2) hours before the Hon. Mahipaul’s email, that an appeal was filed. Subsequently, I was informed at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, that the matter was fixed before a judge.
It should be noted that since I assumed the Office of Speaker, I have been consistent in my application of the sub-judice rule. The fact is that the APNU plus AFC MP just wanted an opportunity to grandstand regardless.
Further, even if there was no appeal before the court, the motion would have disqualified itself under the urgency criterion as the judge had given the parties thirty days to remedy themselves. Had the judgement said immediately, instead of thirty days, then the Hon. Member moving the motion would have been in order.