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…maintains NRF Bill was not legally
The ‘mace’ used to facilitate what the Opposition is describing as the illegal passage of the Natural Resources Fund (NRF) Bill was a replica that is used during Youth Parliament, and therefore has no authority.
This is according to the Leader of the Opposition, Joseph Harmon. It was the Speaker, Manzoor Nadir, who, in an attempt to legitimize the passage of the Bill, first disclosed that a replica was used after the original Mace was “violently” removed by an Opposition MP during Wednesday’s chaotic Sitting of the National Assembly. According to him, Guyana has two maces as in the case of the United Kingdom and Canada, but Harmon said this is simply untrue.
“The Speaker’s statement that Guyana has two Maces is appalling and simply untrue. The replica referred to by the Speaker is a miniature Mace which was made for the hosting of Guyana’s National Youth Parliament and holds no authority in the sitting of the National Assembly,” the Opposition Leader told the nation, and the world at large in a virtual address.
He said there is there is no rule that provides for the use of a replica Mace in the National Assembly as being touted by the Speaker.
“The speaker cannot simply decide to pick up something and replace the official Mace of the National Assembly when the rules clearly state that if the Mace is not in the house absolutely no business can be done, again I say there is no provision for use of a replica or substitute Mace,” Harmon said as he sat beside Annette Ferguson – the Opposition MP who reportedly removed the Mace.
To justify the use of the replica, the Speaker referenced to the Westminster System, contending that in the United Kingdom and Canada have two maces, which are used interchangeably, but the Opposition Leader said these contentions are simply malicious and misleading.
“In the United Kingdom there are a total of 13 Royal Maces, 3 of which are on loan to the Houses of Parliament. One in the House of Commons and two in the House of Lords. None of these serves as replacements or replicas of the other. In fact, on numerous occasions in the House of Lords MPs removal of the Mace was a sign of disagreement with what was happening in the House. Once this occurred the proceedings were halted until the Mace was returned to its rightful position,” the Opposition Leader explained.
He further pointed in Canada’s House of Commons, one Mace is used which dates back to 1917. “This mace replaced the original House of Commons Mace that was destroyed in a fire on February 3rd 1916. There was a temporary Mace which was made of painted wood and metal that was used after the fire in 1916 until the current Mace was presented to the then Canadian Prime Minister in 1917. The temporary Mace is only used on February 3rd of every year to commemorate the fire. That Mace is not used as a replacement if someone moves the Mace during a sitting of the House. In fact, the house sitting cannot be held if the Mace is not in place,” he further detailed.
The Opposition Leader said the Speaker’s reference of two Maces in Westminster Parliaments reeks of sheer desperation on his part to make sense of the illegality he masterminded on behalf of his “bosses.”
When asked if attempts were made to meet with the two sides before proceeding with the reading of the controversial bill following the initial protest action, the Speaker responded in the positive, indicating that attempts to consult the Opposition Chief Whip, Christopher Jones proved futile.
But this too was rejected by the Opposition Leader.
“Let it be known that no attempt was made after the suspension of the sitting to have dialogue with the Chief Whip on the opposition side. In fact, the Speaker went and met with members on the Government side and crafted their plan to come back into the house and force the passage of the bill,” Harmon said.