OP-ED | The Speaker keeps tarnishing himself

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By GHK Lall

There must be a limit to where Guyana’s Hon. Speaker of the House will not go, refuse to uphold, will frown upon in sharp disbelief and anger. I am tainted in merely saying that the Hon Speaker has regrettably and shamelessly failed on every count. Further, there are some other areas that I have deliberately ignored, given him a pass, so pathetic he is in the fair and principled execution of his crucial duties. The Speaker has been nothing, but weak and helpless in how he comes cross in the administration of his sensitive, balancing duties of a countrywide nature, and with similar national meaning, if not consequences. In other more attuned societies, advanced and unsparing, he would long been the butt of insulting jokes, that stripped him and his office of the dignity it should be afforded, and the officeholder himself of any respect that was due, if he had a residue of such still left inside of him.

In an earlier parliamentary-wide fiasco, where it was the bedlam of a free-for-all, the Speaker of the National Assembly could be excused and forgiven for his failure at controlling what deteriorated to a massed mob of outrageous and verbally rampaging Members of Parliament. I could overlook (conditional) the Speaker’s long interlude of inability and immovability due to the sheer weight and force of numbers. As Guyanese should recall, it was if the whole of Guyana’s National Assembly, the nation’s highest lawmaking body, had descended into utter chaos, with most members from both sides of the aisle trying valiantly to outdo the others from the opposing political side in obscenity, stupidity, and crudity. For emphasis, I would give the Speaker, on that occasion, some sympathy because of whatturned out to be an extended interval of the riotous, the malicious, and felonious, which could have been beyond the grasp of much better men (or women) than the current officeholder.

Unfortunately, I am unable and unwilling to do the same in two recent instances. The first involved the angry moments of wrangling and warring on the floor of the National Assembly during the debate related to the passage of the much disputed and combustible National Resources Bill. Though parliamentarians from both sides were out in their numbers, and in each other’s faces, the crowd was not as big as before, and the Speaker did himself and citizens of this society serious injustice, when he failed to establish his authority and control. He should have been prepared, since there was every indication that the temperature was running at dangerously high levels, and tempers were frayed and threatening to erupt with even greater heat. He had the precedent of what was no less than a humiliating full-scale war (referred to earlier), where he was caught unprepared and with his pants down, to the point that he was reduced to a spectator observing the aggressively profane proceedings. Once bitten, twice ready was the standard that the Speaker had to take to heart to marshal his assets, so as to be prepared for any equivalent development, and to be in a position to crack the whip and maintain order. Like that ancient king of England, Ethelred, Guyana’s Speaker was similarly ‘unready’ when the tests and tempests came.And when he did belatedly act, in the handing out of penalties, there was clear and conspicuous bias evident in those who were made to feel the brunt of his sense and style of justice, meaning opposition members. To the Speaker’s record of insipidity and ineptitude, there is sound foundation to add bias to his deliberations and decisions. He is, and we are all, worse for his failures and limitations.

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Worse still, is the most recent glaring example involving what flared between two MPs primarily. It was first the profanity that spewed from the sewer that is the mind of PPPC Government member, a sitting minister no less, who seems to have a fetish for sex toys, as well as some ingrained hostility to female members of the opposition. To put in a way that the ordinary citizen can associate with, if the government minister and MP had attempted and uttered what was said in any street or village in this country, he ran the grave risk of still graver bodily harm. For when he went where he did, that automatically translated to a fighting offense. I remind tall hat this was not on the streets, but in the House of the People of Guyana, and of which there should be no more sacred one in this country. What the government minister did was beyond offensive, it was dirty, coarse, crass, and putrid. Like I said, a mind straight from the cesspools and sewers. Butthe Speaker took no offense, made no effort at early action and correction, through immediate individual sanction.He went the other way, and confirmed his strong credentials seeped in the bias, and maybe what others could conclude to be bigoted, too.

For there was the Opposition rising in wrath to object, and only for the Hon. Speaker to single out one for sanction, and leave the other one to perpetuate verbal violations. I know of no other Guyanese, and this is irrespective of their political persuasion, who could be so crass, so craven, as the Hon. Speaker of the House, given how he reactedand followed up with extreme bias. I lack interest in the originating source of the suspension meted out, but if there was ever a case of terrible injustice, there it was. To the ugliness of the first wrongdoing (the government minister), the Speaker larded his own. In his all too human reaction (not to be condoned, but understood), the partisan Speaker acted with uncharacteristic swiftness to layer with his biased finishing touch, which confirmed his imprisonment to the PPPC Government’s interests and its way of seeing matters, and its expectations of him. Hands down, this Guyanese is the worst Speaker of the National Assembly, and by a wide country mile.



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