– accepted Govt’s invitation but no seating accommodation provided when they attended
THE political Opposition accepted Government’s invitation to tonight’s historic flag raising ceremony to usher in Guyana’s 50th independence, at D’urban Park on Homestretch Avenue, given the importance of marking Guyana’s freedom from colonialism.
The Opposition PPP/C, however, left about 45 minutes after arriving, due to what has been termed ‘utter disrespect’.
The Opposition was assured that seating accommodations would be available for the 32 People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) Members of Parliament (MPs) and their spouses. However, this was not the case when they arrived. They were seen waiting for a lengthy period to even enter the VIP stand, where the MPS and other VIP guests were supposed to be seated.
Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jadgeo, was seen speaking to Attorney General, Basil Williams, and Minister of Culture, Nicolette Henry, about the concerns of the PPP/C MPs being seated. The conversation was a short one. The concerns aired seemed to have fallen on deaf ears.
Meanwhile, as the PPP/C MPs waited to be seated, scores of other persons, some casually dressed – some in short pants and t-shirts – at a formal event, were seen being seated in the VIP area. Those seated included Mr. C.N. Sharma and others.
There seemed to be no organisation at the entrance, given the massive group of people arriving, who were standing and waiting to enter D’urban Park. The people included MPs, VIPS guests, diplomats and other Guyanese.
The PPP/C MPs who arrived together for the flag raising ceremony, left together. Former Prime Minister, Samuel Hinds, was also among them.
FOLLOWING IS THE FULL TEXT OF A STATEMENT ISSUED A FEW MINUTES AGO FROM THE OFFICE OF THE OPPOSITION LEADER:
The People’s Progressive Party /Civic (PPP/C) had publicly expressed its desire to celebrate and participate in the 50th Independence Anniversary Flag Raising Ceremony, as this is a very special occasion in the life of our nation. As a result, Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo and other PPP/C MPs made every effort to ensure that they would be there and able to participate.
The issue of arrangements for accommodating the PPP/C MPs was raised on May 23rd,2016 with Minister Amna Ally and again on May 24th, 2016 at the sitting of Parliament; the Leader of the Opposition spoke directly to Minister Nicollette Henry who is the Co-chair of the Flag Raising activity. The Minister gave all assurances that seats had been reserved for the PPP/C MPs and their spouses.
On the morning of May 25th, 2016, Minister Henry was approached again about the location of and accommodation at the flag raising. Again, all assurances were given that the Leader of the Opposition, Members of Parliament and their spouses would be accommodated.
Regrettably on arrival at the VIP area tonight there were no seats set aside for the Opposition MPs, except for the two Former Presidents, Dr. Jagdeo and Mr. Sam Hinds and two other MPs. The majority of the MPs were left standing. Appeals were made to Minister Henry and Attorney-General Basil Williams but to no avail. However, in the interim dozens of people were escorted to and seated in the VIP area. After standing for over half-of-an-hour in the passage way and no seats were made available, the Leader of the Opposition, Former President Hinds, accompanied by the MPs and their spouses departed.
The humiliation of standing in the passage way while other people were being seated was deliberately designed to humiliate and embarrass the PPP/C parliamentary opposition.
Photos below show PPP/C MPs leaving tonight’s flag raising ceremony: