SEE BELOW STATEMENT ISSUED BY THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION JOSEPH HARMON:
Parliamentary democracy and the regular and robust functioning of the legislature are central pillars in the architecture of any modern democracy.
Yesterday marked one year of the 12th Parliament of Guyana. Regrettably there is little to celebrate but much to bemoan. It is with concern and regret that it must be recognised that Guyana’s parliamentary democracy has not only regressed considerably in the past year but it has come under fierce and unrelenting assault from the PPP regime.
While the APNU+AFC Coalition Members of Parliament have utilised every opportunity in the National Assembly to represent the people of Guyana, such opportunities have, by deliberate design, been few and far between.
The PPP’s parliamentary agenda has been lazy, ad hoc and arbitrary. Parliament was effectively prorogued for four of the past twelve months when absolutely no work was done and no sitting was held.
This is a travesty as the people’s business in the legislature is being stifled and suffocated. The evidence of their actions is clear – the PPP does but subscribe to parliamentary democracy.
ILLEGAL REMOVAL OF PAC CHAIR
There have also been frontal attacks on parliamentary democracy by the PPP regime – none more egregious than the vulgar and illegal removal of the APNU+AFC Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee. This continues to be an enormous stain and a shameful episode in the life of the 12th Parliament and the history of our nation.
ILLEGAL DUAL CITIZEN ONEIDGE WALROND
Dual citizen Oneidge Walrond, the PPP appointed member, knowingly and illegally sat in the National Assembly for several months in flagrant defiance of Guyana’s Constitution. She was forced to withdraw and rather than being replaced, with the facilitation of the Speaker Mr. Mansoor Nadir, via a series of obnoxious manoeuvres, was restored.
ILLEGAL PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARIES
The PPP illegally appointed two Parliamentary Secretaries, again in defiance of the Constitution and it required judicial order for their removal. To date the Speaker, Mr. Nadir, remains in contempt of the order of the court by refusing to formally remove the illegal Parliamentary Secretaries Mr. Vikash Ramkissoon and Ms. Sarah Browne.
ASSAULT OF OPPOSITION MP
One of our Opposition Members of Parliament, Hon. Tabitha Sarabo-Halley was attacked and physically assaulted by a PPP Member of Parliament, Kwame McCoy in the precincts of the National Assembly.
BIASED, PARTISAN SPEAKER
Further the Speaker has, without basis or merit, refused to allow debate on matters of national importance and urgency, including motions on the spread of COVID-19 and the devastating flooding which was declared a national disaster by installed President Irfaan Ali.
The Speaker has demonstrated repeated partisanship in the manner in which he has presided over the National Assembly. He has wrongfully suspended Opposition Members of Parliament for minor indiscretions and for insisting upon their rights, while condoning the lewd and atrocious conduct of the PPP MPs. Speaker Nadir has also sought to muzzle Coalition MPs who have been critical of his obvious bias.
NON-FUNCTIONING NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE
At a time when Guyana is in the throes of developing its oil and gas sector, the PPP chaired Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Natural Resources has not been convened.
PPP AFRAID OF ACCOUNTABILITY
It is clear that the PPP, in refusing to hold sittings of the National Assembly with any frequency, is afraid of being held accountable by the APNU+AFC Coalition Opposition. Further on the rare occasions when they do reluctantly hold sittings, a mere handful of their old guard MPs are permitted to speak while the majority of their MPs remain in hiding, only engaging in puerile heckling.
The APNU+AFC Coalition Members of Parliament will continue to use the National Assembly with purpose in representing the interests of the people, exposing the racist governance of the PPP regime and demanding accountability and transparency from the PPP for the temporary period that they occupy the seat of government.