Govt hijacks PPP/C business in Parliament

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…as Jagdeo blasts Granger’s calling of “mother of all inquires”

Government on Friday ‘hijacked’ the business of the political opposition when it opted to instead move a motion in the National Assembly to debate the contents of the speech given by Head of State, David Granger when he addressed the House on October 13 last. This was instead systematically assailed by the opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo.

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo
Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

The session of the House was slated to begin at 14:00hrs on Friday to deal with three motions tabled by the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) in relation to the Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the Public Service and the Parking Meter and Durban Park Projects but this did not obtain since Speaker, Dr Barton Scotland, agreed to allow Government to move its motion.

Travesty

When the session did eventually begin a half hour after its scheduled start time, PPP Chief Whip Gail Teixeira immediately sought to complain that despite there being a compromise to have the Government’s motion take precedence, when the opposition tabled its business on November 1, 2016, there was no hint of Government’s business for the House.
She called the move on Friday ‘a travesty,’ which did little to deny the Leader of the Government Business in the House to move the motion to debate and subsequently approve the contents of the President’s address the National Assembly –the sixth such to the House in 17 Months.
An animated Opposition Leader however wasted no time during the hour’s long presentation to systematically rubbish the President’s assertions as misinformation and excuses for an inept, comatose administration for its underperformance.
Jagdeo, himself a former Executive President was quick to lash out at the praises aimed at Granger over the number of times he has addressed the House saying this was no barometer of a functioning democracy.
“How many times you address the National Assembly does not really matter, the content is what matters….I see it as an imposition on the National Assembly that in such a short period this is a routine….There must be some weight behind the address of a Head of State to National Assembly,” according to Jagdeo.
He was also quick to lambaste the manner with which the motion was taken to the House for a debate saying the Opposition Members of Parliament had in fact prepared for the motions that they had presented for consideration.

PPP vindicated

Seeking to rubbish President Granger’s claim that at the time the coalition took office the economy had been in a parlous state, Jagdeo pointed to the Public Debt Report which had only minutes earlier been tabled in the House—and said this in fact vindicated the PPP.
Calling on the government to be truthful in its revision of and presentation of history, Jagdeo, said the Government’s own report dispels the notion attributed to the President.
“They say they inherited a mountain of debt,” according to Jagdeo, who further said he was all too happy that the document was prepared since it reflected the debt situation and its evolution.
According to Jagdeo “we have heard the President said they inherited a parlous economic situation but this is far from the truth.”
Guyana, he insist, has over the past ten years achieved consistent economic growth—the fast such growth experienced in the Caribbean.
Jagdeo was adamant that not only had the current Government inherited a growing economy, it had also benefited from numerous large scale investments that had been brought into the country by the then PPP Government.
The country, he said was booming with investment possibilities and pointed to entities such as the two large gold mines, which according to Jagdeo is currently buoying the economy.
Jagdeo said, what government has instead been seeking to do is to take previous policies crafted by the PPP and present ‘unabashedly’ as their own new thinking.
According to the Former president, there is nothing wrong with continuity and that the PPP was willing to give the current government the positive legacy “but at least attribute where they came from.”

Mother of all inquires

On the matter of the sentiments that had been raised with regards Guyana’s recently exited status from the Financial Action Taskforce (FATF), Jagdeo was of the view that what the government failed to also recall was that it was them, while in opposition which had in fact voted down the amendments in the laws that caused Guyana to be blacklisted in the first place.
Responding to President Granger’s lamentations during his speech of a dark and troubling period in Guyana where hundreds of persons were slaughtered including a sitting Government Minister, Jagdeo responded saying this is one view but there are others. To this end, Jagdeo said the PPP welcomes the ‘mother of all inquires’ into that period in Guyana’s history given the Government’s proclivity towards the setting up of Commissions of Inquiries.
He used the occasion to also point to a book written by prominent Working Peoples’ Alliance Member Eusi Kwayana which had accused former President Desmond Hoyte and the Peoples National Congress of being in cohorts with the supposed ‘Freedom Fighters’ that had besieged the East Coast Demerara Village of Buxton.
Summing up his presentation to the House in response to the President’s October 13 Speech, Jagdeo said “The story is not black and white, this narrative dominated by binary thinking, situation is more complex than just approaching it in that manner.”

Disrespectful Opposition

Another of the keynote speakers to the motion included Social Cohesion Minister Amna Ally, who in her presentation accused the opposition of being disrespectful to the President since they had walked out of the House during his speech.
She insisted that as a young government they have in fact done well, given what they had inherited.
“We are building public trust…We are on the road to good governance,” according to the Minister as she sought to point to some of the coalition’s achievement’s thus far but did concede existing gaps along social economic and political lines. (Guyana Times)

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