‘It’s an abomination’ 

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Vice Chairman of the Alliance for Change (AFC) Cathy (DPI)

…APNU/AFC upset over Deputy Speaker selection
…walks out of Parliament first day back 

The APNU/AFC was so disappointed by the selection of Liberty and Justice Party (LJP) Leader, Lenox Shuman as Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly that the party walked out of the House on its first day back to Parliament.

While inside at the Arthur Chung Conference Center venue, Vice Chairman of the Alliance for Change (AFC) Cathy Hughes had nominated Chairman of the AFC, Raphael Trotman to hold the position as deputy. Trotman has previously served as Speaker of the National Assembly from 2011 to 2015.

However, right after, a nomination came from Prime Minister, Mark Phillips and Minister Gail Teixeira for Shuman and when appointed Speaker of the National Assembly, Manzoor Nadir called for a vote, the People’s Progressive Party-led government voted in resounding support for Shuman.

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The move shocked the Opposition which had expected that Trotman would have been easily elected, given the custom for the Opposition to nominate the Deputy Speaker. However, Shuman, the lone representative for a three-party joinder, is also part of the Opposition and is the minority party in Parliament.

Liberty and Justice Party (LJP) Leader, Lenox Shuman enters the Arthur Chung Conference Center Parliament venue with Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony (DPI)

Clearly upset with the occurrence, Hughes told the media: “We recognise our responsibility (but) we do not accept this government and their seat as leaders of this country currently and we find it unacceptable that at the time when we should be working together in unity, that you would allow a man that has over 2,000 votes to represent a group people in Opposition that amassed more than 217,000 votes. It is unacceptable and it is sad that we’re unable to do the decent thing, the honourable thing.”

The LJP, A New and United Guyana (ANUG) and The New Movement (TNM) have collectively gained one seat in the National Assembly having secured 5,214 votes at the elections. The LJP gained the most votes at 2,657 and therefore took up the first portion of time for representation in the National Assembly.

Hughes mocked the LJP and its leader, saying that there are probably many persons who have more Facebook friends than the votes received by Shuman’s party, yet the PPP-led Government used their majority to choose to be spiteful. She also pointed out that the LJP did not win the seat Shuman occupies on its own, but required a joinder of three parties just to acquire one seat. “We are most concerned and disappointed because I think that that was just another indication of the lack of willingness to work together and to be able to consider and to uphold some of the long-standing conventions that relate to the operation of Parliament. As a coalition, our members of Parliament are honored to have been sworn in today, we intend to uphold our oath, however we find it an abomination that Mr. Shuman who comes from a party that got specifically 2,657 (was elected as Deputy Speaker),” she said. The AFC Vice Chairman said that it is ironic that the parties were once again meeting at the Arthur Chung Conference Center, the location where the APNU/AFC believes that it was robbed of its chance to win the elections due to over 8,000 unaddressed discrepancies and anomalies coming out of the national recount. For the fact that her party does not recognize the PPP as legally elected and the underhand move of the majority government to elect Shuman as Deputy Speaker are the reasons Hughes said that her party exited the House in protest.



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