Private Sector urges Speaker to take action against Opposition Parliamentarians

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The Private Sector Commission (PSC) made up of the country’s most powerful businesses, on Friday called the behaviour of the opposition APNU+AFC in the National Assembly Wednesday night “appalling” saying it lost the opportunity to make its case for the law to guide the spending of oil revenues to be refined.

It said the Speaker should take action against the Parliamentarians.

“The PSC had hoped for and expected a mature and adult debate from which our people would be able to fairly and sensibly judge the merits or demerits of the government’s presentation of this vital legislation and, in which, the Opposition could have made their case for the (Natural Resource Fund) NRF Bill to be sent to a Special Select Committee for further debate and consultation,” the Commission said in a statement.

The Opposition blew whistles, approached the Finance Minister and shouted directly in his face, snatched the mace – the Parliamentary symbol of authority – and assaulted Parliamentary staff in their bid to disrupt the sitting.

The Opposition claimed to have wanted the Bill to go to a Special Select Committee to the Parliament, where it would benefit from further consultations and input form others, but it appeared that was not the intention as they did not follow any of the usual procedures for this to happen as it had done in the case just before on the Local Content Bill.

Usually, the Minister calls for the second reading of the Bill, then it is debated. It is during the debate that the case is made for the Bill to be sent to a Select Committee. The Speaker, Manzoor Nadir, indicated as much – that he did want to hear the debate.

But the disruption of the sitting started before any of those procedures could be followed, with a throng of APNU+AFC Parliamentarians descending to the floor, encircling the Finance Minister as they blew whistles and hurled abuses before another set approached the area of the Speaker and eventually grabbed the mace away from its place.

The PSC said it was “hugely disappointed” by the actions of the opposition.

The Commission said the responsibility now rests upon the shoulders of the Speaker “to ensure that those parliamentarians, who clearly crossed the line, are dealt with appropriately as provided for in the rules and procedures of our Parliament.”

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