The 10th Parliament…Two preachers, an ex-commissioner and an herbalist
It was never going to be straightforward or easy.
A meeting of the National Assembly to elect a Speaker of the House following the November 28th General and
Regional Elections was going to be anything but that.
It was characterized by the usual suspects of protestors, a packed gallery of family and friends, smiles from some and frowns from others.
The new Parliament will comprise, among other things, two preachers- Bishop Juan Edghill and Reverend Kwame Gilbert; a talk show host, herbalist Veerasammy Ramayya from Berbice; Winston Felix, a former Police Commissioner; and Vindhya Persaud, daughter of one of Guyana’s longest serving parliamentarian, Pandit Reepu Persaud.
It will also include none other than David Granger, a one-time senior official of the army.
Outside of the Parliament, two groups of protestors were gathered- one from the Guyana Trade Union Congress and another bigger group of the Youth Coalition For Transformation (YCT), an arm of the A Partnership For National Unity (APNU).
According to Lincoln Lewis, the GTUC is hoping that the new government through Parliament will address the long outstanding issue of the RUSAL employees who were dismissed by that bauxite company for standing up for their rights.
The union official made it clear that they will be pressing home their case to the opposition parties and new Parliament by extension.
YCT came to the fore after the November 28th elections, leading a number of marches through the streets of the city.
According to Jermaine Grant, YCT’s President, they will be stepping up the pressure for the salaries of Public Servants to be increased.
“We will also be repeating our calls for the removal of Dr. Steve Surujbally and Gocool Boodhoo from GECOM (Guyana Elections Commissions). The whole idea is to bring awareness to the pertinent issues affecting Guyanese.”
YCT also wants more radio and TV stations.
“We have Linden where people are literally not given a choice except the government’s TV.”
Back in Parliament, it was time for the nomination of the Speaker. The PPP/C nominated Ralph Ramkarran; AFC chose Raphael Trotman while APNU put forward Deborah Backer.
After a count, it was 32 votes for Ramkarran from the PPP/C, while the combined opposition went against him with their 33 vote majority.
It was now a tense time. There was evidence of a few persons chewing their nails.
APNU then made the announcement that it was withdrawing Backer for the Speaker position. It was time now to vote for the AFC’s choice.
What was going to happen now? The question was on everyone’s faces.
The AFC’s seven votes came in and then the APNU…surprise, surprise to some.. one member after another, give their nod for Trotman. The 33 votes came in…and it was clear that Trotman was the man of the hour. There were some shouts of “circus” and the pounding of table to show congratulations.
Then it came to the swearing in time.
The Bible, the Gita and Koran were used. There were some who just recited the pledge.
But it was the Bishop who forgot to swear on the Bible that took the cake.