The main Parliamentary Opposition’s House walkout this morning smacks of political immaturity and abdication of duty, the Guyana government has said.

A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) Members of Parliament (MP) vacated the House during the 50th Sitting at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) after expressing their frustration with the prioritization of motions.

The Leader, Aubrey Norton also lamented that the House agenda was being influenced by the government, and more critical issues, including the rising cost of living, were being placed on the back burner. He also noted that the walkout was prompted by the “illegal” suspension of eight of his colleague MPs, who were banned for an unruly in-House protest last year during the passage of the National Resources Fund (NRF).

But Parliamentary Affairs and Governance Minister, Gail Teixeira has labelled the walkout as an abdication of duty. During a press conference this afternoon, the senior minister said, “Mr. Norton can bellow as much as he likes from far corners, but he is abdicating his responsibilities as Leader of the Opposition when we have bills important bills here.”

She said today’s sitting included the taking of necessary actions on bills related to constitutional reform, drinking/drug use and driving, and suicide prevention. Teixeira said that these issues do not carry “labels” since they affect all Guyanese.

“These issues cross partisanship and therefore, the absence of the opposition [members] is noted as abdicating responsibilities as Members of Parliament and as elected officials of their constituency,” the Minister said.

She added, “this is all about smoke and mirror and grandstanding, and sitting on quicksand and nothing underneath it”.

Public Works Minister, Bishop Juan Edghill in echoing his colleagues’ sentiments, said that the walkout signals the political immaturity and “intellectual laziness” of the APNU+AFC.

“They behaved the way schoolboys behave: pick up yuh bat or yuh ball and run away when you don’t get your own way,” he scoffed.

He noted that the increasing cost of living is a direct consequence of the Russian/Ukraine conflict and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global supply chain. According to him, the Opposition knows this and is, therefore, “exploiting” a global issue to score political points.

The minister said he also found the Opposition’s concern over the cost of living ironic, because it was the former APNU+AFC government that imposed over 200 tax measures between 2015 and 2020. Edghill noted that if his government had not reversed and red-penciled those measures, the present situation could have been direr.

He added that despite these reliefs to the populace, the APNU+AFC continues to label the government as incompetent. The minister opined that the walkout could not, therefore, be connected to the cost of living, but is a reaction to the ongoing Commission of Inquiry into the troubled March 2020 General and Regional Elections.



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