March 4, 2021
For Immediate Release to All Media Houses
The Alliance For Change is dismayed, distressed and disappointed in the unholy turn of events and disintegration of law, order and parliamentary norms as witnessed during the recent 2021 Budget debates and consideration of the Financial Estimates.
Daily, Members of the Opposition, and in particular women, were verballly accosted and abused, and subected to the worse forms of personal indignity that no woman or Member of Parliament should have to endure.
Most unfortunately, the AFC is shocked and dismayed by the consistent failure and refusal of the Speaker to intervene and provide protection to Members of the House.
A Speaker is elected to preside over the affairs of the National Assembly, and though there is a duty to ensure that the Government’s programmes are allowed to proceed, the protection and facilitation of the opposition is of equal importance. This has not been the case.
Things came to a head with the physical assault by a Government Minister of a female Member of Parliament, within the precincts of the National Assembly. The Speaker treated this matter very lightly and failed and refused to ensure that there was an impartial investigation, in the interim, to ensure that the accused perpetrator was withdrawn from the House pending the outcome of the investigation.
The same Government Minister has repeatedly been referring to our young indigenous female MP as a “Bartica Prostitute” in clear earshot of the Speaker and other MP’s without sanctions.
The AFC calls on the Speaker to do his job, and to create an enabling environment for the people’s business to be properly conducted and signals that it is ready, willing and able to participate in any discussions and deliberations that will lead to a return to normalcy, which is palpaby absent now. Guyana’s parliamentary democracy is absent and urgent bi-partisan attention must be paid to this crisis.