Sep 17, 2020 News
Questions put forward by the Parliamentary Opposition regarding the visit of United States (US) Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, were on Wednesday shot down for a second time by Speaker of the National Assembly, Manzoor Nadir.
His actions did not bode well with Opposition leader, Joseph Harmon who deemed them “unfair and biased.”
“We consider the Speaker’s ruling to be quite unfair, unreasonable, unjust, and we find that it reeks of biasness,” Harmon said in a live interview shortly after the ruling.
The Opposition, A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC), had filed an “oral question with notice” demanding answers on Pompeo’s impending visit to Guyana during the period September 17 to 18, 2020.
Those questions, submitted by Member of Parliament (MP), Amaza Walton-Desir, were not allowed, prompting the Opposition to file them again.This time, MP Christopher Jones submitted the questions.
In proffering an explanation why he denied the question for a second time, the Speaker told the House on Wednesday that while the questions were important, they were not “urgent”.
He said, “Two days ago, MP Walton-Desir submitted questions without notice, yesterday I ruled and it was re-submitted by MP Jones, again today. Under Standing Order 18, it requires that questions without notice have urgency and importance. I maintained that the questions submitted do not qualify as urgent.”
As such, he did not allow the question.
According to Harmon, the secrecy regarding the Secretary of State’s visit spells bad for Guyana.The questions, that were submitted, he explained, sought to inquire whether the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hugh Todd, would provide the House with his agenda on matters for discussion for the visit; whether Minister Todd would identify Guyana’s key interest and non-negotiable policies as they relate to Venezuela and lastly, whether the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) administration can guarantee the people of Guyana that our national interest will not be compromised.Those questions, Harmon added, were “urgent and important enough” for the Speaker to ask the Minister to relate to the House what will be discussed.
Harmon asked, “What is it that you are talking about? What is so difficult? What is there to hide about an important visit like this? Now what can be more urgent than this?”
He continued, “We have a visit of the highest ranking member of the US government ever to visit Guyana. Today is the 16, tomorrow is the 17. How much more urgent can this be, we ask? The Speaker in his wisdom decided that this is not urgent enough for the people of Guyana. This is bad for Guyana.”
The people of Guyana, the Opposition leader noted, will not accept this kind of behaviour.
“We require to know the matters which will be discussed,” he added.
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