Govt will not allow actions of Opposition to obstruct agenda –Teixeira
…calls out Opposition for “unacceptable” behaviour in National Assembly
Parliamentary Affairs and Governance Minister Gail Teixeira has described the behaviour of the main Opposition in the National Assembly as “smoke and mirrors.” Teixeira said the Members of Parliament (MPs) have failed to present facts to support their arguments, and have resorted to personal attacks on members of the Government.
The Minister addressed the matter during DPI’s television programme “The Progress Report” on Wednesday.
“The vitriol and what I keep calling the smoke and mirrors’ attacks. What are you there for? You are not there because of your good looks. You are not there because you are young or old. You are there because you came on a party’s list. Your party won so many seats, and your party selected you to do the work.
“You are there to represent the people the best way you know how, which means you have homework to do. If you are talking about a Bill, go and do your homework and represent to the best that you know how for the people,” the Minister said.
Teixeira noted that she has been am MP since 1992, and while there have been many heated debates, personal attacks are unacceptable. She added that while the parties may have different views on a matter, the precedent is to have a negotiation.
“I have been in Parliament where people have said, ‘I do not like what your Government is doing, but on this issue, we will support’, or, ‘On this issue, if you amend it this way, we will support’; more of a negotiating style. That is not what is happening now. You are trying to have discussions on issues and it is smoke and mirrors. It is like a magician. You throw up smoke and mirrors so you are deflecting all over the place, but you are not dealing with the real issue,” the Minister said.
The Minister highlighted that at the last sitting of the National Assembly, the Opposition brought a motion to have custodial sentencing removed from the possession of marijuana. However, instead of dealing with the matter at hand, they began accusing the Government of drug trafficking.
The Minister described it as ridiculous, adding that there are certain things in the National Assembly that you do not do. She noted that the Opposition carries as much responsibility as the Government side to behave in a constructive manner.
“It is unfortunate for the country, because some of the issues that we can reach agreement on, that have never been controversial; issues like child rights and different social legislation, that have not been ones that we could not stand together, these stand the risk of suddenly becoming this battlefield, where you have no proper arguments, but you are having these accusations on people’s lives.”
Nevertheless, Minister Teixeira said, the Government would not allow the actions of the Opposition to obstruct its agenda in the National Assembly. Thursday is the next sitting.