‘Jagdeo needs to deal with cultural issues within his party’ – says Granger

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By Bibi Khatoon

President David Granger has noted that the Opposition’s treatment of the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland on Monday, December 11, 2017, was completely uncalled for.

He also urged Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo to address “cultural issues” within his political party.

The President compared what transpired in the Parliament Chambers on Monday with the protest mounted by the political Opposition during his address to the National Assembly on November 02.

“I think that the treatment meted out to me on the 2nd of November was completely uncalled for, I think the treatment meted out to the Speaker was completely uncalled for and I think the Leader of the Opposition needs to deal with these cultural issues within his party,” Mr Granger told reporters following the Accreditation of the High Commissioner of the Bahamas at State House Wednesday.

President David Granger

Mr Granger maintained that the incidents are vulgar.

The President further noted: “It’s the level of vulgarity that I referred to since the 2nd of November, we’ve never seen it before, I hope we don’t see it again. Vulgarity is vulgarity, there is no place for that in the National Assembly. It is a very poor display on the part of Mr. [Juan] Edghill and his colleagues to demonstrate to the public and to our children that the Honourable House should be the scene of such a disorderly show.”

Events escalated in the Parliament Chambers on Monday when the Opposition Member refused to obey orders of the Speaker to regain his seat. While the Speaker ordered the Sergeant At Arms to remove Edghill, events took a turn for the worst when the police were called in, leading to alleged assault of Opposition MPs who attempted to block Edghill’s removal from the house.

The President did not comment on the police’s intrusion into the Chambers or the alleged assault on the Opposition MPs but focused more on the disobedience of the Speaker, noting that no head of any branch of Government – Judicial, Executive or Legislative – should be treated with disrespect.

“We don’t treat the Chancellor like that, we don’t treat the Speaker like that and we don’t treat the President like that,” Mr Granger told reporters.

The Private Sector Commission (PSC) on Tuesday expressed the view that parliamentarians should be free to challenge each other, including the Speaker of the House. Therefore, it contended that the decision to summon the police is an unacceptable overreaction.

The private sector umbrella body said it is extremely concerned about the precedent it has set and the impact on the country’s international image.

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