Latest update May 31st, 2023 3:04 PM
May 12, 2023 News
Kaieteur News- Speaker of the National Assembly, Manzoor Nadir on Thursday said that the Motion submitted by Opposition Member of Parliament (MP), Ganesh Mahipaul calling on the Executive Arm of Government and the Attorney General to honour the ruling of Justice Sandil Kissoon, regarding oil spill insurance and the parent company guarantee by ExxonMobil, did not qualify as a definite matter of urgent importance.
Nadir, in a statement to the media, said “at yesterday’s Sitting of the National Assembly, I disallowed a request from the Hon. Ganesh Mahipaul to adjourn the Assembly to discuss a matter of urgent public importance concerning a motion to discuss oil spill liability coverage. The matter did not qualify as a definite matter of urgent importance, since I was of the view that the matter was sub-judice.”
The Speaker explained that he had previously ruled that a matter becomes sub-judice if a judge is assigned to the case, a date is given and the case has reached a stage of evidence before the court.
“It was mischievous of the Hon. Member Mahipaul to bring the motion when he knew fully that the matter did not qualify. He just wanted to grandstand and play for an audience which the APNU-AFC is familiar with,” Nadir said.
The Speaker of the House noted too that at 7:17 p.m. on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, he received the request from Mahipaul for the adjournment of the Assembly.
“I was already aware, through a Inews release, at 5:10 p.m., two (2) hours before the Hon. Mahipaul’s email, that an appeal was filed. Subsequently, I was informed at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, that the matter was fixed before a judge. It should be noted that since I assumed the Office of Speaker, I have been consistent in my application of the sub-judice rule.”
Further, Nadir accused the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance for Change (AFC) Member of Parliament of just wanting “an opportunity to grandstand regardless.”
“Further, even if there was no appeal before the court, the motion would have disqualified itself under the urgency criterion as the judge had given the parties thirty days to remedy themselves. Had the judgement said immediately, instead of thirty days, then the Hon. Member moving the motion would have been in order,” the Speaker explained.
In a statement to the press after the Speaker’s decision, the Opposition described Nadir’s ruling was concerning. The Opposition noted: “the role of the Speaker of the National Assembly is to be a neutral arbiter and ensures that all voices are heard in the democratic process. This Speaker is biased and unpatriotic. His actions continue to undermine the integrity of the democratic process. Further, his actions erode public trust and prove that he is a puppet of the executive arm of government.”
They also argued that the issue of protecting the Guyanese people from the environmental and economic impacts of offshore oil production is of vital importance, since a spill can have devastating consequences for the environment, fishing industry, and tourism sector, as well as the health and well-being of local communities. “It is therefore imperative that the government takes this issue seriously and implements measures to protect the Guyanese people. The Speaker of the National Assembly is preventing a motion that would help to achieve this goal. This is a serious problem that requires immediate attention,” the Opposition said.
According to the opposition, both the Speaker and the executive arm of government “undermine the integrity” of the democratic process in Parliament which has serious consequences for the people of Guyana. As such, it said it is crucial that the people take action to ensure that the democratic process is fair and transparent, and that measures are put in place to protect the Guyanese people from the potential impacts of offshore oil production.
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