By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com]– A Budget 2015 standoff looms in the National Assembly as Government and Opposition Chief Whips are refusing to budge on their desired placement of Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo on the list of debaters in the National Assembly.
Government’s Chief Whip Amna Ally is insisting that the Jagdeo speak before Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, but the Opposition side of the House says this goes against established conventions and norms.
The People’s Progressive Party in a release had stated that the move by the government was a direct attempt to “muzzle” Jagdeo, but Ally says “there is nothing like muzzling the Opposition Leader because normally the Prime Minister closes off and the mover of the motion, who is the Minister of Finance closes the motion.”
Ally says that the “Opposition Leader speaks…the Prime Minister and then the mover of the motion who is the Minister of Finance.”
However, Teixeira says this would be arbitrary to established conventions and norms.
“Parliamentary conventions and norms are that the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition and the Minister closes the debate and that is proven in the parliamentary records…what she’s saying is nonsense,” said Teixeira.
The Chief Whip says she will await the decision of the Speaker of the National Assembly, Barton Scotland before a decision on the way forward is made.
“The Chief whip of the government does not control this parliament….if the Speaker is willing to let the Leader of the Opposition be muzzled in that way then he will make his legacy…Is the coalition afraid that if Jagdeo speaks before Jordan then he can’t defend himself?…They frighten Jagdeo you know, the main problem is they terrified of this man – cause when he get up and talk economics and Finance some people will get diarrhea in this place,” she told reporters.