Yesterday marked one year of the 12th Parliament of Guyana, and Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon says there is “little to celebrate but much to bemoan” .
“It is with concern and regret that it must be recognised that Guyana’s parliamentary democracy has not only regressed considerably in the past year but it has come under fierce and unrelenting assault from the PPP regime,” he said today.
He added that while the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) parliamentarians have utilised every opportunity in the National Assembly to represent the people of Guyana, such opportunities have, by ‘deliberate design’, been few and far between.
“The PPP’s parliamentary agenda has been lazy, ad hoc, and arbitrary. Parliament was effectively prorogued for four of the past twelve months when absolutely no work was done and no sitting was held. This is a travesty as the people’s business in the legislature is being stifled and suffocated. The evidence of their actions is clear – the PPP does but subscribe to parliamentary democracy,” the former State Minister said.
In his statement, Harmon alluded to the Public Account Committee (PAC) chairmanship debacle, the alleged dual citizenship of a government minister, the alleged assault of an APNU+AFC parliamentarian by a government minister, among other issues.
Harmon also accused House Speaker, Manzoor Nadir of being a ‘bias, partisan speaker, whom, “without basis or merit, refused to allow debate on matters of national importance and urgency, including motions on the spread of COVID-19 and the devastating flooding which was declared a national disaster by installed President Irfaan Ali.”
He added, “the Speaker has demonstrated repeated partisanship in the manner in which he has presided over the National Assembly. He has wrongfully suspended Opposition Members of Parliament for minor indiscretions and for insisting upon their rights while condoning the lewd and atrocious conduct of the PPP MPs. Speaker Nadir has also sought to muzzle Coalition MPs who have been critical of his obvious bias.”
Harmon said that notwithstanding these issues, the APNU+AFC Coalition Members of Parliament will continue to use the National Assembly with purpose in representing the interests of the people, and demanding accountability and transparency from the government.