Speaker of the National Assembly, Manzoor Nadir, on Thursday rebuked the disruptive actions of the APNU-AFC Members of Parliament (MPs) that sought to chaotically derail the passage of the amendments to the Natural Resources Fund (NRF) Act of 2019.
The Speaker related that the “terrorist”-like moves by the Opposition infamously resulted in one of their MPs removing the Mace from the National Assembly during the debate on the Natural Resource Fund Bill.
“In every Parliament, an attack on the Mace is an attack on the authority of Parliament and that attack on the Mace cannot, cannot go unpunished… Those who attacked that mace will face the consequences,” the Speaker passionately stated alongside Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs.
“I condemn the behaviour of the Members of Parliament yesterday- the Opposition Members of Parliament. [It was] total disrespect for the institution and its people,” Nadir added.
The Speaker explained that only the Sergeant-at-Arms is authorised to handle the Mace, as in countries with the Westminster parliamentary system and other congresses.
While thanking one of the parliamentary staff for heroically lying on the floor outside the dome of the Arthur Chung Conference Centre with the Mace to avoid it from being stolen, the Speaker reminded the nation that the actions of the Opposition MPs will not define the 12th Parliament.
“Our Parliament is a young one, but it has seen its trials, its tribulations throughout its short history. Emotions and tempers will flare, but we have, again, we have young, bright, next generationers who are watching all of this. I want to appeal to them, this incident in Parliament ought to strengthen your resolve that going forward, this country should not behave in such an uncivilised manner.”
The Speaker further noted that while he has been lenient with statements from MPs in and out of the House, the rules will be enforced.
Additionally, Nadir rebuffed claims by the Opposition that amendments to the NRF were improperly passed due to the absence of the Mace. On this point, the Speaker added that a smaller replica of the Mace was used while the initial Mace was forcefully taken out of the National Assembly.
The subsequent passage of the amendments was done with the majority of members on the Government side of the House who were seated.