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Statement by Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Aubrey Norton
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) continues to make the National Assembly into an institution that does not serve the people of Guyana. The government’s refusal to discuss critical issues such as the high cost of living, the increase in poverty, allege bribery and corruption involving Bharrat Jagdeo, their unwillingness to debate natural gas flaring and now their refusal to permit the National Assembly to address the issue of the enactment of constitutional and statutory amendments to facilitate a clean voters list are clear indications that the government is not democratic and they have no interest in, or commitment to parliamentary democracy.
In addition, the government has emasculated the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) thus preventing the scrutiny of the taxpayer’s money. The sabotaging of the PAC is testimony that the government is corrupt and incompetent and therefore does not and cannot afford to be scrutinized. It is apposite to note here that non-scrutiny will facilitate corruption and pave the way for the misuse of the resources emanating from the oil and gas sector.
Even as the government is avoiding scrutiny of the taxpayer’s money, they refuse to increase the wages and salaries of public servants. This refusal to give the people increases amidst increasing windfall income from the oil industry is a clear manifestation that the government does not care about the people of Guyana. Their focus is ensuring the PPP elite, friends, families, and favourites benefit from our national patrimony.
The society is also experiencing total disrespect to the people of Guyana. There is no respect for the rule of law. The suspension of eight Opposition MPs without a hearing is ridiculous and unacceptable since it brings the non-compliance with the rule of law in the very Chambers that should protect the law. Since then, governments disrespect for the rule of law has also been manifest in their total disregard for the legal profession. The arrest of Ms. Tamieka Clarke by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) is another clear indication that the PPP does not subscribe to the rule of law.
The foregoing therefore leads one to the conclusion that it cannot be business as usual, and it is in this context that our walkout of the National Assembly must be seen.