BILL COTTON/REFORM… NOT QUITE HANSARD LAST WEEK IN PARLIAMENT
Bill likes Parliaments and he also likes pantomimes. Sometimes he gets them mixed up. Last Thursday it was Guyana National Assembly time and the school kids were lining up outside. They were from Victoria, the first free Black village in BG, and were there to help present a petition with two very distinguished supporters-Triple President ABW Poole and Colin Bobb Semple. The kids had a long wait.
Due to start at 2.00pm, the sitting actually began at 2.14pm.The members came from far and wide in Prados and Land Cruisers. Corbin had his own bag carrier, others able to manage it for themselves.
Bill met old friends. Minister Nadir bearded him, “You say when I get this job all I will do is cut ribbons and make speeches. Wot you say now?” Does he have the Collected Cotton Works beside his bed?
It was payday for all so the House seemed unusually full to get to those plain white envelopes. Some even came from more lucrative pastures across the road. Lawyers led by the effusive Basil Williams dapper in shades. Nandlall followed much later with some natty shades too. Is there a shop in Croal Street which has lawyers discount on sunglasses? And why did the Attorney General not bring his pair? Has he put them to pasture?
Bill saw the Government’s senior legal adviser in deep conversation with Corbin and Sam. Were they discussing exchange rates? Corbin didn’t stick around long though. He did the petition then vamoosed. Bill did not see if the bag carrier followed. But at one point the most senior person left on the PNC front bench was Basil W–one heartbeat away from power!
Bill spotted a new thing–this has become the Blackberry/Laptop Parliament. Lots of members passing time on the net. Even Speaker Ramkarran joined in and had a laptop brought to him by a flunky. But the PPP side seemed to have a huge laptop advantage. Could the PNC all be waiting for Bharrat’s One Laptop per Family to even the score? We should be told!
The debate –if you can call it that– was average. Young Robert Montgomery Persaud growing in stature and bringing in three technical agriculture Bills. Hardly riveting stuff as Bill’s snores showed. The speeches against were equally riveting (not) only livened up by the PPP’s licensed jester and heckler Neil Kumar taking on all and sundry in verbals.
What did the Victoria kids make of this panto? Well they lasted an hour and a half before filing out during a second (or was it a third) Montgomery Persaud speech. They were ‘hungry’ and went for food. Not long after the honourable members followed them to the trough. Bill was long on his way with his old friend Naga. He’d lost the will to live hearing RP talk about the ‘Seed Bill’.
But let me share with you a lovely vignette as Bill was leaving. A snitch went to speaker Ramkarran and pointed out Bill’s shirt ‘outside he pants’. He got short shift. “We make allowances for him cos he is a very distinguished guest,” said Mr Speaker whilst pointing out, subtly, that he had seen Bill taking forty winks in the Chamber.
See what Bill means about Panto/Parliament? Catch it yourself–few performances left before the October Election. Now ’Look behind you, Sam!’