ON Wednesday, 30th, December 2021, the opposition APNU+AFC Coalition parliamentarians attempted to steal the Mace so that the Natural Resources Fund Bill, which was being discussed, could not become law.
Apart from blowing their whistles in the middle of the dome and the usage of placards to protest against the legislation, the APNU+AFC parliamentarians created confusion, pandemonium, and chaos in the Parliament of Guyana.
They were heard hurling all manner of insults and remarks at the parliamentary staff for prohibiting them from carrying through with the plan to steal the Mace and effectively invoke the delay in the government’s business, indefinitely.
Luckily, order was restored to the proceedings of the Parliament and the bill became an Act before being assented to by President Dr. Irfaan Ali on Friday, December 31, 2021.
Firstly, all right-thinking Guyanese should strongly condemn the actions of the MPs of the opposition APNU+AFC Coalition.
It was a dastardly and foolish display of the levels of desperation in the circles of the APNU+AFC.
It was also shameful and reprehensible conduct, to say the least for parliamentarians to engage in such ‘yard-fowl’ behaviour. Finally, it showed a side of the political and parliamentary opposition that only comes to the fore when they are going to lose out on a vote as was the case in the 2020 elections.
In condemning this gutter and reckless behaviour, Guyanese should examine if they want their representatives to behave in this thuggish and confrontational style. What was accomplished by this despicable behaviour? What did the opposition APNU+AFC Coalition get out of their shenanigans? Nothing, because the PPP MPs still passed the legislation following the steps outlined by law.
Is this how they are being role models for the younger generation to follow? Are they teaching them that bullyism and violence are the only way to go in the Parliament when things do not go a certain way?
All the ‘rights’ organisations, ethical watchdogs, political parties and ordinary Guyanese should condemn this denigration of Parliament into a madhouse by the opposition.
Secondly, Speaker Manzoor Nadir must not allow this incident to go unpunished. He should investigate and suspend all the protestors from three or five sittings of the Parliament.
Therefore, the Speaker and Deputy Speaker, Lennox Shuman, should hold one head and invoke the Standing Order that has to do with parliamentary conduct and behaviour. Parliamentarians Annette Ferguson, Amanza Walton-Desir, Sherod Duncan, Maureen Philadelphia, and others should not be allowed the privilege to speak in the Parliament until they apologise to the nation for their barbaric displays.
Additionally, the PPP Government should use their numbers and send the opposition APNU+AFC parliamentarians straight to the Privileges Committee of the Parliament.
Thirdly, there is no precedence for what occurred in the Parliament on Wednesday.
After all, if you are found tampering with the Mace, you are going to get the toughest sanctions regardless of what led to your actions. The case of former MP Isahak Basir (1991) comes to mind. The APNU+AFC Coalition would want Guyanese to excuse the conduct of the APNU+AFC in Parliament but truth lives in the pages of the Parliament papers, newspaper, personalities like Kamal Rambaran, and other politicians.
Finally, the security apparatus must be looked at in the Parliament in case there is an insurrection. Parliament cannot afford these breaches occurring and the Speaker must have confidence in the discharge of his duties. Parliament is not safe and the tradition and customs are being eroded by a very aggressive opposition.
If this behaviour is a sign of how the APNU+AFC Coalition will be behaving in Parliament, the government side must be ready at all costs for them. Is this Parliament of Guyana? Where is the decorum, class, civility, and respect that parliamentarians should have when they are arguing different opinions?