Mar 01, 2021 News
– Says media right to print heckling “in its disgusting detail”
Kaieteur News– Former Speaker of the House, Ralph Ramkarran said in his column ‘Conversation Tree’ that the person holding the office has a duty to stop vulgarity by Members of Parliament.
“The Speaker has a duty to stop the vulgarity,” he said, “and there are provisions in the Standing Orders to deal with members who violate the rules as to order by shouting across the aisle or making vulgar or otherwise offensive remarks, even while sitting. There are also the Speaker’s vast discretionary powers that are not written in any rule book but can be exercised to great effect. Parliament has to be brought to heel. It has been allowed to go to rot and has become a den of misogyny, homophobia, disparagement, denigration and rudeness. The hurling of aspersions may appear to injure the victims, but among opinion makers, they do more harm to the offenders, who must be named.”
This followed a week of vulgar, distasteful remarks made by MPs during their budget speeches and in their heckling of their colleagues, when budget debates opened last week. As the week went by, the racism, homophobia and sexism in MPs’ remarks began to abate as Kaieteur News reported on it and the public shamed them in newspapers’ letter speeches, as well as on social media.
In response, the Speaker, Manzoor Nadir, warned the media about reporting on heckling, and told the media that it opened itself to being sued.
“I have read many of the articles, letters and comments concerning the behaviour of MPs during the debate on the Budget,” Ramkarran said. “The press is absolutely right to bring this slow descent vulgarity into the public domain and to print in its disgusting detail what Members are saying. The press is fully and absolutely protected from any liability of any kind for their accurate reportage.”
Nadir has begun to reprimand MPs more for behaviour which dishonours the House. Education Minister, Priya Manickchand, also scolded her colleagues for their poor conduct.
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