Gov’t condemns PPP’s “disrespectful” protest in Parliament

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By: Devina Samaroo

Government Members of Parliament (MPs) have condemned the unprecedented protests by those on the Opposition benches whilst President David Granger was delivering a special address to the Parliament on Thursday.

The showdown was a clear protest against the President’s decision to unilaterally appoint Justice James Patterson as the new Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).

Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo told News Room that the demonstration by the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) under the leadership of Bharrat Jagdeo is an indication that the Party has hit an all-time low.

“He was proven to the decent people who support the PPP that he had brought the party down to a level that it has never been. This is called gutter politics, this is trench bottom politics!” the Prime Minister, a former member of the PPP, declared.

Nagamootoo also chided the parliamentary opposition for bringing the House into disrepute.

“Jagdeo and the rest, all they would do is babble, groaning, screaming, shouting, lamenting and it’s an infantile behavior. Today they have brought the house into disrepute and shame and I think that Jagdeo has much to answer for his leadership right now,” he stated.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon told reporters that the Opposition is setting a bad example for its supporters.

“What do you expect their supporters to do on the streets? And this is setting a very bad precedent. The Leader of the Opposition and his MPs must be called out for it! This disrespect is unheard of!” Harmon expressed.

Justice Patterson, who is the subject of the PPP’s actions, said he was amused but not surprised by the demonstration.

“This looks like the modus operandi as usual. It’s not unusual for legislators to behave like that and you can’t be really timid if you go into politics. That sort of thing happens,” he told News Room.

In the likes of what has not been seen in the Parliamentary chambers in recent years, Opposition parliamentarians took a strong protest, bearing placards, into the Parliamentary Chambers.

The demonstration occurred in the presence of members of the diplomatic community and other high dignitaries.

In the audience too was the new GECOM Chairman.

When President Granger entered the Chambers, the Opposition parliamentarians whipped out the placards and began waving them around in a silent protest.

Some placards read: “Granger wants to hijack GECOM”, “Boom out Granger #untrustworthy”, “200 new taxes, more burden”, “No more dictators”, and “Economy in tailspin after Hurricane APNU”.

Not long after, the MPs began chanting slogans such as “free and fair elections”, “no more rigging” and “not fit and proper” in protest of the president’s decision.

President Granger signaled to the Speaker of the House, Dr. Barton Scotland to not take actions and the PPP MPs lustfully continued with their chants.

President Granger defied the opposition’s protest and continued with his speech which reiterated his government’s commitment to development and upholding democracy.

Following the President’s address and the demonstration by the PPP, the House was adjourned to November 17.

Meanwhile, scores of PPP supporters also stood outside of the Parliament Building with placards protesting the unilateral appointment of the GECOM Chairman.

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