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—calls out Priya, Vindhya, Oneidge, Gail for their silence
A New and United Guyana (ANUG) has called for the removal from public office, Local Government Minister Nigel Dharamlall even as the party slams the silence of the PPP’s female Members of Parliament when the minister abused another female MP with the words: “You got to get a dildo. That is what you want.”
Last week A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Member of Parliament Sherod Duncan, who sternly objected to the derogatory remarks spewed at the female Opposition MPs in the House by Minister Dharamlall was suspended. But the APNU+AFC, in a statement, said the decision by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Manzoor Nadir, to suspend Duncan is “unacceptable and unfair.” “In several 2022 budget speeches these very female MP’s spoke of the un-parliamentary tone, verbal abuse and racial slurs that plagues the House and the consistent failure of the Speaker to reign this abhorrent behaviour,” the Coalition said.
In a statement issued after Wednesday’s Sitting of the National Assembly came to an abrupt end, the APNU+AFC said that Duncan’s outbursts in the House stemmed from remarks hurdled at a female Opposition MP by Minister Dharamlall during the consideration of the Budget Estimates in the Committee of Supply earlier that day. In responding to a questioned posed by a female Opposition MP on a specific line item, Minister Dharamlall said: “You got to get a dildo, that’s what you looking for.”
From across the floor, MP Duncan repeatedly described the Local Government Minister as “nasty” as he stood in defense of the female MP. Calls by the Speaker for him to be seated went unheard. “I will not take my seat!” MP Duncan shouted. The Speaker then called for him to withdraw from the House, to which he responded: “I will not withdraw!”
It was then that the Speaker called on the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira to move a motion for Duncan to be suspended from the House for the next four sittings. The motion was successfully moved, resulting in the Opposition MP’s suspension.
APNU+AFC, in the statement, said throughout the course of the day female Opposition MPs, in particular, were subjected to continuous derogatory remarks by the Local Government Minister.
“The final straw was when the Minister who was being questioned by a female M.P. from the opposition on a specific line item, and while being on the floor, responded to the question by stating “You got to get a dildo, that’s what you looking for,” it explained.
It noted that despite the “unacceptable and vicious comment,” the Speaker made no attempt to reprimand or correct the Minister.
But the coalition said the Minister’s abusive conduct on Wednesday was nothing new.
“The female APNU+AFC MPs note that on every occasion that the Minister has to speak going back to 2020, the members on the opposition side especially the female MP’s, are forced to sit and listen to the vilest of verbal abuses and racial slurs. We will not accept this,” the APNU+AFC said. In objection the Coalition MPs walked out of the House.
Meanwhile, in its statement ANUG said it is clear from the video recording that Dharamlall’s repulsive outburst was not orchestrated or rehearsed; it was spontaneous. “When an outburst is made so viscerally and instinctively, that moment of honesty reveals much of the nature of the man, and reflects not on the person he was addressing, but on himself. In our young society, where all are sprung from slavery and indentureship, there is no shame in remembering where others placed us in the colonial society, because we are not identified and defined by those origins; we aspire to rise above. Dharamlall’s demonstration in Parliament proves that he has not risen above. His vulgarity is reminiscent of another PPP Minister’s misogynistic exchange with a female social activist some years ago. But it is worse.”
According to ANUG, it is worse because the statement was made in the crumbling sanctity of our Parliament, where the nominees of the elected leaders congregate. It is worse because there was no response, no immediate and unequivocal condemnation, from Priya, from Oneidge, from Vindhya, from Gail or from the men seated next to them. It is worse because the Speaker, who imposes discipline, actually sanctioned an opposition member who protested against Dharamlall’s crassness. “To add insult to injury, Dharamlall the Dildo Minister has published a tepid attempt to repair the damage, seeking to excuse his vile conduct by claiming he was responding to similar vulgarity from the Opposition.”
The fledgling party said psychologists point to avoidance and misdirection as two devices used by abused persons to escape the reality of their oppression. “Dharamlall’s pseudo apology invites the abused electorate of Guyana, those in the PPP camp, to rally around the refrain that APNU tried to rig an election. They point to the Opposition benches, where the purveyors of such crass labels as ‘trench crappo’ and ‘jaggabat’ sit, with no moral high ground. By misdirecting the conversation to APNU misdeeds, the PPP supporters can avoid confronting the ugly realities of the party they support.”
“A New and United Guyana agrees: APNU have no high ground. Supporters on both sides can adopt
avoidance and misdirection. ANUG simply asks in that case: What next? Insofar as Dharamlall is concerned, ANUG asks: If he can show such colours under the spotlight of recorded Parliament debates, what is he capable of as head of the Ministry to which he has been entrusted, where the scrutiny is less rigorous? What treatment and conduct can the public servants who work under him expect from him?”
As such ANUG calls on President, Irfaan Ali to remove the dishonourable Minister of local government and regional development from office. “He has no place among the leadership of our country.”