By Fareeza Haniff
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Education Minister, Priya Manickchand says she is ‘shocked’ and ‘stunned’ that the combined Opposition prevented her from making her contribution to the 2014 budget debate in the National Assembly on Friday evening (April 05).
The Opposition started banging on the desks, singing “apology to Sharma” as Manickchand stood to make her contribution. As a result, Speaker Raphael Trotman adjourned the sitting until Monday, April 07.
At an impromptu press conference on Friday evening, Manickchand told reporters, “Heckles happen all the time in Parliament. Our Parliament has been known for heckling… I am shocked that the Opposition would try to shut down my right to represent the people of this country by trying to gag me.”
Additionally, Government Chief Whip Gail Teixeira criticized the Opposition for their “behaviour” in the National Assembly.
“This is the behaviour of the Opposition throughout this budget debate and even before, the life of the tenth Parliament has been one of bullyism, preventing the smooth flow of this house and passage in particular of the budget 2014. So I believe we can see clearly that the Opposition wants always their way, there is no opportunity to reach agreement and even when you do agree, the Opposition always, always renege on whatever they agree with you,” Teixeira told reporters.
She further added, “The public needs to know that this is the kind of politicians that we have to confront in this Parliament.”
Sharma resigned from the National Assembly following a heckling incident in the House on Tuesday, April 01.
Manickchand had heckled “ask the APNU member Sharma” while MP Volda Lawrence was addressing the issue of rape in the society during her very emotive presentation.
Manickchand was initially banned by the Speaker from debating in the House. However, her ban was subsequently removed by the Speaker himself.