Speaker condemns Opposition’s in-house protest against President

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Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland on Friday condemned the in-house protest action taken by members of the People’s Progressive Party /Civic (PPP/C) two weeks ago, while the President made his address at Parliament.

Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Barton Scotland

According to Scotland, the action required permission and that had not been requested, nor granted. As such, he reprimanded the party while asserting that the National Assembly was not a place for their course of action to express disapproval.

On November 2, Opposition Members of Parliament refused to listen to the address made by President David Granger in the House following the recommencement of Parliament after a two months recess.

During Granger’s speech about “the common good,” “patrimony,” “the economic sector,” “governance sector,” “social sector” and the “legislative agenda” for 2018, People’s Progressive Party members staged an in-house protest, holding up placards while heckling the Administration throughout the hour and half long address.

Opposition Parliamentarians bearing placards protesting, among other things, the President’s unilateral appointment of a GECOM Chairman from outside of the list of 18 provided by the Opposition Leader

Bearing signs which read “Uncontrollable crime,” “Blackouts murderous,” “Freedom of press under threat,” among others, the Opposition Parliamentarians chanted “no more rigging” and “jobs for youths!”

A major factor that led to the Opposition bearing placards in Parliament was the President’s recent decision to unilaterally appoint retired Justice James Patterson as Chairman of the Guyana Election’s Commission, a moved dubbed by the Opposition as unconstitutional.

Commenting on why the Opposition members opted to stage an in-house protest and not a “walk out” as was their way of showing non-support of Government initiatives, Opposition leader Dr Bharat Jagdeo had asserted that “staying away was not adequate.”

“We had walked out in the past, not listened to the President, when there were other breaches of the Constitution… We stayed away from the Parliament, but this breach was so egregious that just staying away was not adequate. We had to be there actively protesting their breach of the Constitution [unilateral appointment of the new GECOM Chairman] and the rule of law and therefore that’s why we took this action to highlight not only to Guyana but the international community, how seriously we in the country view this matter,” he said. (Ramona Luthi)

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