23 years of experience as a lawmaker makes me a good fit – new House Speaker

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Speaker Manzoor Nadir takes the Oath of Office

Newly appointed Speaker of the National Assembly, Manzoor Nadir has dismissed claims that he is unsuitable for the position saying that with more than two decades of experience as a lawmaker he is more than qualified and competent to head the Legislative arm of the State.

Noting that having a legal qualification may be helpful, Nadir was adamant that to become Speaker of the National Assembly, such a qualification is not mandatory.

“I have been a lawmaker for over 23 years, and perhaps that qualifies me to hold two PhDs in lawmaking; and the Legislature is the law making arm of the State,” Nadir asserted on Wednesday during an interview programme on Globespan.

“I have had some exposure, and while serving 23 years in previous parliaments has given me quite a bit of experience, I think my reliance on that experience and the experiences of public life would make me a good fit for this position,” the new Speaker contended.

The House Speaker was also supported by A New and United Guyana (ANUG) Chairman, Timothy Jonas, who expressed that Nadir’s service in public life, more particularly his experience as a Parliamentarian makes him immensely qualified for the prestigious position.

Chairman of A New and United Guyana (ANUG), Timothy Jonas

Jonas, who is a lawyer by profession, said that he was surprised that people are asking questions about Nadir’s ‘’legal qualifications” because no such qualification is required to be appointed Speaker of the House.

“The Speaker assists with procedures, with making decisions on procedures and Manzoor, by virtue of his many years of experience, is eminently qualified in my view to do it”.

He further explained: “The people who talk about having a legal qualification to sit in Parliament, missed, to me, what is one of the largest ironies of democracy in the Western system; which is that of the three arms of the State – the Judiciary, the Legislature and the Executive – it’s only the Judiciary that got any academic requirements to get the job; any of the others, anyone can do it, once you get enough votes.”

“The people who sit in Parliament and are supposed to be making laws and passing laws, those people have never drafted a single piece of legislation…what they do is that they get lawyers from the Parliamentary Council …to draft laws, often borrowed from other countries,” Jonas contended.

With support from the ruling PPP/C, Nadir was elected Speaker of the Twelfth Parliament on Tuesday, while Opposition Member of Parliament and Leader of the Liberty and Justice Party (LJP), Lenox Shuman was elected as Deputy Speaker.

Moments after he secured the position, Speaker Nadir promised to be impartial in the execution of his duties and to work with all sides to ensure that the 12th Parliament is the “most successful” ever.

Nadir posited that as Guyana continues to transform into a more vibrant and stronger democracy within an oil economy, it is of utmost importance that the 12th Parliament be effective, successful and exemplary.

“As we embark on the commencement on the agenda for this Assembly, I’m enthused and dedicated to making this 12th parliament one that will positively impact on pertinent issues such as constitutional reform, legislative reform and the implementation of new logs that caters for our changing realities,” he said.

On this note, Nadir, who has been in politics for some 40 years, said “I’m committed to working with all sides of the House to ensure that this 12th Parliament be inscribed in our history as being one of the most successful ever.”

“Having sat in this House for 23 years plus as a member both on the opposition and government sides, I understand the importance of this position. I promise to be impartial fair and just while upholding the laws, rules and procedures in the execution of my responsibility as speaker of this noble house. The veracity of this noble institution must and will be uphold at all times during my tenure.”

The new Speaker congratulated all the first time Members of Parliament, telling them that the responsibilities that come with membership of the National Assembly require dedication, unbiased dialogue, integrity and, most importantly, acting in best interest in the people of Guyana – without whom they would not be there.