House Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George yesterday slammed the recent action by United National Congress MP Roodal Moonilal and said he should apologise to Parliament “for his opprobrious conduct.”
This followed the Oropouche East MP’s recent statements that he was unable to present a matter in Parliament on the Venezuela/Paria fuel matter and was writing to international quarters on it.
However, Annisette-George, explaining the Standing Orders governing the presentation of matters, said, “This unusual conduct is egregious, intolerable and beneath the dignity of this House.”
She added, “It’s expected Members may from time to time disagree with rulings from the Chair. What’s unusual and unacceptable, is the public cavorting of the admittedly unrepentant Member for Oropouche East.
“The Member saw it fit to use both traditional and social media outlets to distort the application of a rule of this House. Equally disturbing was the Member, by his own claim, writing to foreign emissaries and international bodies complaining that his recent unsuccessful application under Standing Order 17, was due to bias on the part of the Chair. The seasoned Member for Oropouche East must have known or ought to have known his application failed even the initial hurdle of the Standing Order.”
She was referring to Moonilal’s attempt to get the issue involving the Paria Fuel Trading Company’s fuel sale with an unknown Swiss-based company owned by Wilmer Ruperti, a long-time sympathiser and supporter of embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, dealt with in the House last week.
Ruperti’s ES Euro Shipping SA purchased a fuel shipment from Paria Fuel which is alleged to have subsequently been sent to Venezuela despite the current US embargo. Venezuela is reported to have received 150,000 barrels of gasoline from Ruperti’s company.
Moonilal’s attempts to debate the matter was denied by the House Speaker and the UNC subsequently referred her to the Inter-Parliamentary Union and Committee of Parliamentary Association for failing to recuse herself from the discussion, arguing she should have done so since her husband, Newman George, is Paria’s chairman.
Yesterday, however, Annisette-George said Moonilal’s “reprehensible behaviour” was intended to bring Parliament into odium and to lower its authority.
“The Member’s conduct and statements are tantamount to contempt,” the House Speaker said.
“To misuse the Standing Orders and then deliberately spread misinformation about the rules, practice and proceedings is an ignoble mischief and should be denounced by all MPs – if the Member has a modicum of decency left, he’ll apologise to this House for his opprobrious conduct.” — Gail Alexander