PPP Chief Whip identifies “unhealthy & distasteful” developments in the house; questions impartiality of the Speaker
Chief Whip of the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Gail Teixeira believes that the insertion of the motion on the debate of the President’s Parliamentary speech was “deliberate and a ploy to ensure that the private members day does not take place.”
Speaking at the PPP’s weekly press conference yesterday, the Chief Whip said the party had to demand that a date be given for private members day so that their concerns could be addressed in the National Assembly.
Teixeira said the opposition believes firmly that the debates on the Jubilee Park and the Parking Metre System are critical issues that are of public interest and should have been heard in the House.
She expressed hope that these matters would be addressed on November 21, when the opposition is expected to raise their concerns on private members day in the National Assembly.
Issues with the impartiality of the Speaker, Dr. Barton Scotland were raised. An incident involving MP Anil Nandlall was also highlighted by the Chief Whip to support the party’s view that the Speaker is not fair towards the opposition. Nandlall was asked by the Speaker to withdraw a question posed or sit and he chose the latter, however the Speaker threatened to suspend the Opposition MP.
According to Teixeira any attempt to suspend a Member of Parliament must be done with a motion that has to be debated in the House, since the Standing Orders do not vest that power in the Speaker.
She described as “unhealthy and distasteful” these developments in the National Assembly, citing that when support was given to MP Nandlall, the Speaker also threatened to hold the Opposition in contempt.
The Chief whip is contending that while the practice of the Speaker is sacrosanct, he cannot be so “capricious.”