GEORGETOWN, Guyana -The Parliament Office here is investigating a security breach after a woman, dressed in a Santa suit and ringing a bell, entered the parliament chamber on Friday as Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo was making his presentation during the debate on the 2018 national budget.
After a walkout by a majority of the government Members of Parliament, Jagdeo was minutes into his presentation when the sound of a ringing bell filled the chamber and the woman in the Santa suit emerged from a doorway to the right of the Speaker’s chair.
Media reports said that the “Santa Claus” made her way into the Chamber, using the entrance that is only used by government legislators and Parliamentary staff, and began ringing a bell before announcing that she had a gift — which was a dictionary — for the Opposition Leader.
The Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms, who is responsible for the security of the Chamber, quickly held on to the woman and led her back out.
It was reported that no attempt was made to arrest her. The woman left the compound through a back gate.
Clerk of the National Assembly Sherlock Isaacs described the incident as a “serious security breach.”
Issacs said he was told that ” apparently the person came in properly dressed and changed his/her clothes in the MPs’ washroom.”
He told reporters that the Parliament Office’s security was investigating the incident.
Former home affairs minister, Clement Rohee, said the main opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) believes that the “Santa Claus” is a supporter of the coalition government.
“How the assailant bypassed the elaborate security arrangements, including TSU guards and the scanners on the ground floor of the parliament building, is highly suspicious and questionable,” Rohee said, adding that the Opposition has formally written to the Clerk of National Assembly.
He said the opposition legislators have also called for an urgent meeting of the Parliamentary Management Committee, to investigate the incident.