…and dishonourable PM
The House of Commons, after which our National Assembly is modelled, runs on a host of traditions and conventions. Much of these have to do with regulating the behaviour of the members – who, after all, represent the “commoners” or lower classes, as opposed to the aristocracy. It is the custom, for instance, in Parliamentary democracies, for the members of the House to refer to each other as “the Honourable Member”.
This, it was hoped, would encourage MPs not to descend into gutter language or fistfights, with which the common folks were wont to settle their disagreements. After listening to the Budget Debate, it became clear to your Eyewitness that a host of MPs insist on acting like the great unwashed masses – especially those from the Government benches.
Take the case of Keith Scott, the Minister in the Ministry of Social Protection, which is in the Ministry of the Presidency; he technically isn’t a “Minister” since he heads the “Labour Portfolio”, which is actually a department. The fella insisted on READING a typewritten speech, which is just not done in Parliaments!! As a presumably educated gentleman, he’s supposed to be speaking spontaneously and (hopefully) eloquently on the topic; and not read a speech obviously written for him, since he couldn’t even pronounce some of the words!!
MPs also aren’t allowed to read newspapers etc during Parliamentary Sessions, but there were some blatant examples of this disrespectful practice throughout the Budget Debate. Two Opposition MPs from the back benches were caught reading some Muckraker gossip from a laptop. This, of course, ipso facto, proved they were card-carrying members of the hoi polloi!!
But most egregious of all were the antics of the Prime Minister, who insisted that the traditions of the Guyanese Parliament during Budget Debates be broken just to offer him a sop in lieu of being shafted from the powers of the Prime Ministership!! The tradition was that the Leader of the Opposition would be the penultimate speaker, with the Finance Minister, who introduced the Budget, finishing up his defence to the preceding critique.
From the first Budget the PNC-led coalition presented in 2015, however, Nagamootoo, stung by the taunts from the Opposition benches about his emasculation, insisted he be the penultimate speaker – following the Opposition Leader!! The Opposition then protested by walking out just before Nagamootoo began to nurse his ego!! This followed for the next three years.
This year, unlike the principled Opposition walkout for a cause, the Government MPs, led by Nagamootoo, simply walked out on the Opposition Leader’s speech simply because they wanted to “diss” the Opposition.
This represents such common/guttersnipe behaviour that it betrays its actual source in the proverbial fisherwoman’s trade!!
…and PM’s Portfolio
The DPI – which is headed by Nagamootoo’s shill and general factotum – took time out to report on one Government Minister’s complaint that Opposition MP Nandlall claimed Nagamootoo is bereft of a portfolio. As you, dear reader, know, your Eyewitness has been making this point ever since PNC leader Granger not only tore up the Cummingsburg Accord — which promised Nagamootoo chairing of Cabinet meetings right after the 2015 elections — but refused to allocate any Ministerial portfolio to him!! All he was given was a column in the Chronic!!
Your Eyewitness was hoping the Government Minister would’ve gone on to spell out Nagamootoo’s portfolio, since he insisted the man from Whim had one!! But obviously it was a whimsical statement, since no elaboration was forthcoming!! But bereft of anything substantive (or substantial!) to do, and insisting that he speak in Parliament, Nagamootoo proceeded to put his foot into his (open) mouth.
He referenced the Booker Tate study (mentioned by your Eyewitness) that recommended the Skeldon Modernisation – including the factory.
Thereby nailing David Patterson’s lie in Parliament!!
Another Parliamentary custom is you can’t tell another “Honourable Member” he just told a lie – like Patterson did with the Skeldon Factory.
Winston Churchill got around the restraint by describing it as a “terminological inexactitude”!!