In light of the back and forth between supporters of both the Government and the PPP/C taking to social media to express their views about the walkout of the Opposition Members of Parliament and their spouses, after being left standing without seats in the VIP area at the recent Flag Raising ceremony, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo today stated that it is time for the issue to be left in the past.
Jagdeo explained that although those who were in charge of organising this historic event could have “done better” the matter should be put to rest and urged that citizens not dwell on this since “our country deserves better”.
According to Jagdeo, the fact that the PPP/C Members of Parliament (MPs) walked out of the event does not display that of disrespect to the country but that this was a direct reaction stemming from the humiliation that the MPs along with their spouses and loved ones, had to endure publicly.
“The night was a special night. People were happy and the mood was good. It was just the disorganisation,” he posited.
The Opposition Leader stated that it is being perceived that such treatment meted out to the Party’s MPs might have been orchestrated with the intention of humiliating the PPP/C MPs but this move backfired since it displayed the incompetence on the part of the administration.
Jagdeo, a former President of Guyana, who participated in numerous national events pointed out that out of 1,000 VIP invitees, the organisers of the event should have and could have reserved some seats with signs to indicate and prevented the PPP/C MPs from facing such humiliation.
He further explained that the seats could have been reserved since the Party had signaled its intention that all of its MPs would be in attendance for the national ceremony.
Meanwhile, the Opposition Leader debunked some of the claims that Minister within the Ministry of Education, Nicolette Henry, had made while issuing an ‘apology’ when the issue arose.
Contrary to the statement by the Minister that the PPP/C MPs had arrived late to the event despite being requested to be there at a certain time, he stated that he had already been seated while other PPP/C MPs and their spouses were left standing, and this was before the arrival of the Prime Minister and the President.
According to him, all PPP/C MPs (including himself) travelled to the location in a large bus and by the time they were inside of the ground, other ministers of government were also seen arriving after them.
He also argued that in his conversation with Minister Henry, at no point in time did she say that she was looking for seats for his MPs.
In fact, Jagdeo noted that after he issued the complaint to her and warned that if his MPs could not be seated within 5 to 10 minutes after standing in the corridor for such a lengthy period, then they would leave.
The Opposition Leader told the media that this was when the Minister disappeared from his presence without a word about arranging seats for the PPP/C MPs and she did not return before the walkout.
Minister Henry, had issued a statement previously debunking the claims made by the PPP/C, saying that in addition to arriving later than the agreed time and using an incorrect entrance, one of the PPP/C MPs had made a request for the entire delegation to be seated together, which would have been very difficult to accommodate.
Henry had also stated that after realising what was happening, she assured the Leader of the Opposition that the problem will be addressed soon, but before this could have been done, the PPP/C MPs all walked out of the event.