Private Sector bodies condemn Opposition’s “vulgarity”, “hooliganism” in National Assembly

Several Private Sector bodies have condemned the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Opposition for their vulgar behaviour and hooliganism during the debate on the Natural Resource Fund Bill in the National Assembly on Wednesday evening.

GCCI President Timothy Tucker

In objection to the passage of the Bill, the Opposition started protesting in the House and this escalated into a confrontation between coalition Members of Parliament (MP) and Parliament staff after one of the APNU/AFC members snatched the Parliament Mace from in front of the House Speaker as he was seated at his desk. This was in addition to blowing whistles while walking around in the pit of the Assembly and surrounding Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh as he was making his presentation.

GOGEC President
Manniram Prashad

The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), in a statement on Thursday, strongly condemned the behaviour of some of the Opposition Members.
“Having a keen interest in listening to the debate on the Bills which were in the House, it is with utter shock and dismay that members of the GCCI witnessed a devolution of the parliamentary proceedings into what can best be described as hooliganism,” the missive detailed.
According to the GCCI, the attempt to remove the Speaker’s ceremonial mace was “an intolerable action” and disrespect to the chairperson of the highest decision-making body of Guyana.

GGDMA President
Andron Alphonso

“The GCCI is of the view that this type of behaviour has no place in a modern society where civil discourse and debate ought to be the underpinnings of the dialectical process which obtains in Parliament… The Chamber of Commerce wishes to remind parliamentarians, particularly those who wish to engage in recalcitrant and unbecoming behaviour, that they are representatives of the people of the Republic of Guyana at a time when the country has international attention.”
The Georgetown Chamber added, “Such reprehensible behaviour has the ability to further damage the credibility of our country as a stable society and environment for doing business – a credibility already under strain by the attempt to subvert the will of the electorate in General and Regional Elections (GRE) 2020.”
Additionally, the entity also blasts the coalition members who had hurled racist remarks at Parliament staff Ean McPherson, after he was verbally and physically abused during his bid to protect the Parliament Mace from being seized by Opposition MPs.
To this end, the GCCI called on Speaker Manzoor Nadir to ensure that those responsible for the breakdown of order in the National Assembly were dealt with “condignly and with great alacrity”.
Moreover, the Guyana Oil and Gas Energy Chamber (GOGEC), also in a statement on Thursday, said it “…condemns in the strongest form the brazen vulgarity and disruption of the National Assembly proceedings yesterday by the political Opposition – to prevent the passage of the NRF Bill”.
GOGEC noted that while MPs may enjoy parliamentary immunity, this should not negate the strongest possible action being meted out to the intellectual author (s) of what occurred in the National Assembly.
“This level of political indecency cannot be condoned and tolerated going forward as it has severe adverse consequences for political stability and investment in Guyana, thus stymieing the development of the country. Finally, for those who are responsible for the chaos that evidently seems to be pre-planned – the strongest action and/or the full force of the law be applied to the perpetrators and to prevent a recurrence of this nationally embarrassing display of political lawlessness and bullyism,” the entity posited. According to GOGEC, the Opposition’s behaviour on Wednesday comes at the time when Guyana is on the cusp of accelerating its economic transformation and is being watched by the international community.
On this note, the Oil and Gas Energy Chamber called on stakeholders; Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and the business community to join the condemnation of the Opposition’s egregious acts.
Meanwhile, the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) also condemned the “unparliamentary” behaviour that played out in the National Assembly, calling on politicians to put Guyana first and to work together in a peaceful and dignified manner in keeping with the expectation of the citizenry.
“Democracy and a respect for the rule of law must become the hallmarks on which a growing Guyana must be built. The nation is still reeling and is yet to fully recover from the undemocratic attempts to hold on to power in 2020. We must guard against slipping into that pit again. The Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association condemns the blatant and vulgar attempts to subvert democracy. Guyana cannot continue to be the Caribbean’s parliamentary laughingstock, we must do better,” the Association asserted.
It went on to remind that MPs are elected by the people to represent them in the highest decision-making body and not to act out like the “common rabble”.
The GGDMA further contended that parliamentarians could not deny Guyanese the representation they need, and must have, if the country is to progress. As such, it called on all MPs to return to the democratic practices and behaviours that should be associated with Guyana’s highest decision-making body.