Speaker upbraids Parliamentary Opposition over conduct during 72nd sitting

DPI, Guyana, Friday, November 17, 2017

Speaker of the National Assembly Dr. Barton Scotland on Friday chided members of the Parliamentary Opposition for what he said was their “intemperate and misguided” conduct during the 72nd sitting of the National Assembly on November 2nd.

Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Barton Scotland addressing the House on Friday.

Dr. Scotland told the opening session of the 72nd sitting of the Eleventh Parliament that the behaviour of the opposition members who protested without permission during the Parliamentary address by President David Granger, was a far cry from what should be accepted in the constitutional office.

“They descended in creating a din more suitable for a place other than the National Assembly. It did not seem to those honorable members for that they continue to be, were in no way embarrassed, to be part of that performance from their seats, while maintaining their places of honour derived from being members of the House,” Dr. Scotland said.

While the protest by the opposition has already been heavily criticised by Guyanese and even members of the diplomatic community, the Speaker said he needed to communicate the level of disrespect brought to the Head of State and the Parliament during the Presidential address.

According to the House Speaker, the National Assembly is being faced with an attempt to bring a new paradigm of change to the rules. He said it would seem that the virtues upheld by the National Assembly are under attack.

According to Dr. Scotland, the opposition’s performance demonstrated outright disrespect while noting that there are basic rules which protect the rights of all members. According to him, the actions of the opposition was unwarranted.

“There can be nothing in the display, not in any way to be caused in this house that warranted the inexcusable and irredeemable performance of the honorable members,” Dr. Scotland noted.

The standing order he said, requires that all be quiet when someone else is speaking. Bringing placards in the House for reasons of protest must be given permission by the speaker. However, this was not the case.

“I will tell you that for the 71st sitting the speaker was either requested to grant no did he grants permission for pamphlet to be brought into this House,” the House Speaker said.

He called for some introspection by members of the National Assembly for future conduct. He also urged them to show veneration to the house.

If the intention of the opposition was to prevent the delivery of the message by President Granger, then it was not fulfilled, the Speaker noted.

“The presence of His Excellency the President is an occasion of signally marking the event of his presence in the house. It is an occasion where Guyanese who are members of the National Assembly should gather to demonstrate respect to the State of Guyana and the personification of the state through His Excellency the President.”

He continued “let it be recorded that this House strongly deprecates the conduct of some honourable members on that occasion. The route of decorum and respect for one another and for our institutions exists for us all to travel. Let us all try to travel on it notwithstanding our differences,” Dr. Scotland said.

The opposition on November 2, holding up placards and loud chants, disrupted the address by President David Granger.

Despite their drowning him out, President Granger completed his message, which included measures implemented by his government over the years and an outline of further developmental plans going forward.


By: Alexis Rodney


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