Hundreds of supporters of the main opposition National Democratic Party (NDP) protested on the outskirts of Parliament and the nearby police station following the arrest of the NDP’s Ben Exeter by the police on Tuesday.
While the reason for Exeter’s arrest is not known, the protest led to the late start of Parliament and the subsequent walk out by opposition legislators who took their oaths of office in the afternoon.
However, the opposition members left the house before Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves addressed Parliament for the first time since the December 9 general election.
Opposition leader Arnhim Eustace in an address the protestors said he did not know why Exeter – who represented the party in Central Leeward, was charged.
“We know that he has some bruises on his face and it is important that he gets medical attention . And we want him to go and get the attention accompanied by someone from our side. We are making arrangements with the police …” said Eustace in response to reports that Exeter was beaten by the police.
Meanwhile Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves in a short statement said “those who have lost must accept that they have lost.
The Prime Minister called the opposition supporters “dissatisfied dissidents” who cannot come to terms with another victory by his Unity Labour Party.
Exeter’s arrest comes only hours after the court rejected his application seeking access to certain electoral documents.