…Contends that Govt. is trying to muzzle the Opposition
By: Kiana Wilburg
A motion to limit the time of the next sitting of the National Assembly set for May 12, does not sit well
with the political opposition.
Such a motion was moved on Wednesday by Leader of the House, Moses Nagamootoo. He said that the sitting should start at 1 pm and end at 5 pm to allow members of the Government to grace Business-Expo, which he deemed an important national event.
But Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira, was convinced that Nagamootoo’s motion was anything but innocent.
She cautioned House Speaker, Dr. Barton Scotland, that the Prime Minister was “pulling wool” over his eyes. She also registered her dissatisfaction with the motion since May 12 is intended to be Opposition’s day.
Teixeira also noted that on May 12, the President would be coming to speak to the members of the House. She said that while she has no problem with it, it all serves to make the time for Opposition day shorter.
Teixeira said that in the Parliament, the Opposition has a role to play. The Opposition Chief Whip reminded the House that the Speaker began the session noting the recently held Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) workshops.
She said that these workshops saw officials reminding Guyana’s Parliamentarians of certain principles which must be followed. She said that the CPA officials were strong on certain issues, especially those which pertain to Ministers not sitting on committees and the opposition having the right to ask questions without notice.
“We have been waiting from August to January for our day…May 12 is our day. Why can’t the President come on another day? It is going to be a truncated session because everybody got to go GuyExpo. But you didn’t invent GuyExpo. It was set up by the PPP/C. And you know what? There were a number of sittings which were held during our time and we didn’t have all this big majority. Ministers went to GuyExpo and came back. But we understand your predicament because you haven’t got a choice. But you are muzzling this opposition. That’s what you are doing,” Teixeira expressed.
She explained to the Speaker that at the end of the proceedings for May 12, the Opposition would only have two hours to raise its concerns. Teixeira said that this is not acceptable.
“This looks like an innocent thing; it is not. It is dastardly and we are going to oppose this. We asked for May 11 to have our day and then we can meet on May 12 and the President can come and give his speech. But we were told ‘no’ because they have something else.
“They got some social cohesion something, something. And again this Parliament is being held at ransom because of some cultural centre programme,” the Opposition Member noted.
Teixeira said that the Parliament cannot work in such a manner. She said that the Opposition must have its day in the National Assembly.
Government Chief Whip, Amna Ally said that her administration is not an unreasonable one. Ally noted however that during a previous conversation with Teixeira, she made it known that any matter remaining on the agenda for the May 12 sitting would take precedence at the following sitting.
The Government Minister said, “Let me remind the Opposition that we are the government and we will not allow you to tell us how to run the government.”
Nagamootoo in support of his colleague told the Opposition that when one wants to throw missiles, they should try to resist the urge to do so especially when he or she is guilty of worse.
The heated exchange continued but eventually the motion was carried.
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