Speaker chides Opposition Leader for publicly criticising his ruling
“Criticisms of rulings of the Speaker in the media is not allowed,” Speaker of the National Assembly Manzoor Nadir made clear on Thursday.
The Speaker’s comments came one day after Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon publicly criticised his ruling not to allow oral questions without notice on the impending visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
At the start of Thursday’s sitting of the National Assembly, the Speaker noted that if there is an issue with a ruling, there is a procedure outlined under Standing Order 46.
“…if there is a question with respect to a ruling of the Speaker, there is a procedure to follow and that ruling could be fully ventilated in the House and not in the media,” the Speaker said.
Standing Order 46 states: “The Speaker in the National Assembly and the Chairperson in Committee shall be responsible for the observance of the rules of order in the Assembly and Committee respectively and their decision upon any point of order shall not be open to appeal and shall not be reviewed by the Assembly except upon a substantive motion made after notice.”
The Speaker on Wednesday for the second time, denied questions put forward by the Parliamentary Opposition on the scheduled visit of Pompeo. He said while the questions were important, they did not qualify as urgent.
In a live Facebook video on Wednesday, Harmon rejected the Speaker’s ruling and insisted that the Government must give assurances ahead of Pompeo’s visit that Guyana’s interest will not be compromised.
Given that the questions were presented one day before the impending visit, Harmon questioned “how much more urgent can this be?” adding “We consider the Speaker’s ruling to be quite unfair, unreasonable, unjust and we find that it reeks of bias,” Harmon said.
The Opposition wants to know the details of the programme and agenda on matters for discussion for Pompeo’s visit; the Foreign Affairs Minister to identify Guyana’s key interests and non-negotiable policies as they relate to Venezuela and whether the administration can guarantee the people of Guyana that their national interests will not be compromised.
Pompeo will be the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Guyana. He arrives Thursday night and will meet with President Ali and sign key agreements on Friday.