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UDP Hecklers Disrupt Senate Proceedings

The Senate Hearing had to be suspended today by Chairman of the committee, Aldo Salazar after members of the gallery, known UDP supporters and operatives, were heckling PUP Senator Eamon Courtenay. Chaos errupted inside the national assembly building for a brief moment and everything was caught on camera, including threats made to the media. Hipolito Novelo reports.

Aldo Salazar, Senator: You would know that it was a particular request of the opposition when this was done that this hearing should be in public. So we need to be very careful we need to weigh both sides but we really do need to proceed in an orderly and respectable fashion. So although we may not be able to complain much about intervention here and there if there is really disruption we really need to address it. As you can see our police presence here is not what we would want to deal with a situation like that so it’s really trying to manage with what we have an I feel that today that was the best way we could manage it. In the future we will have to see how we can address it more appropriately with additional people from police. I really don’t feel like we have enough persons here today.


Eamon Courtney, Senator: The proceedings last week were disturbed by the chairman of the United Democratic Party Mr.August. Mr.August came back again today he was accompanied by others including the Sgt. at arms of this honorable house so these are part of the official United Democratic Party, part of the house staff and they were the persons who came here today to disturb the proceedings with a clear intent to do so, let’s make no mistake about that. So first of all as far as I am concerned I regard it as being done with the sanction and approval of the higher echelons of the United Democratic Party and Mr. Penner you heard him at the very beginning gave a political speech clearly that was also rehearsed and prepared for the purposes of today’s hearing. The question is why? It’s very simple, its very obvious, it is clear I believe to people who have seen this that the United Democratic Party Government and certain Ministers and other officials in particular have things to hide and I was one of the persons including my other senators who were asking pertinent and relevant questions and putting Mr. Penner on the hot seat and hence they decided that they were going to distract and disrupt the proceedings to get us away from that. I won’t comment at all on the position that Mr. Penner took I will simply say that the proceedings will not be terminated because these people intend to behave like that. I will insist next week and in the future that the chairman ensures that order prevails.