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On Monday, December 5, 2022, the National Assembly debated and passed Amendments to the Representative of the People’s Act (ROPA), despite the Parliamentary Opposition’s agitation for the bill to be forward to a Special Select Committee of the National Assembly.
Editor, The People’s Progressive Party/Civic held the reins of government for twenty-three (23) years pre-May 2015 and went to elections for five consecutive terms with the very ROPA. However, as a result of the allegations of fraud and other irregularities perpetuated by the PPP/C revealed during the 2020 recount, they have shamelessly and unilaterally amended key sections of the Act which they will use to their advantage.
The reality here is that many of the points to be advanced during Petition No. 88, which will be heard by the Court of Appeal in February 2023, will be premised on the ROPA and the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, especially on Article 162. Additionally, there is the ongoing Commission of Inquiry into the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections, at which many persons have already provided evidence. Some of that evidence will be heard again during the February Court hearing.
What is ironic is that during the debates of the ROPA bill, ALL the speakers from the PPP/C side of the House did not speak about the amendments, but instead focused their presentations and arguments on what transpired from March 2, 2022 throughout the recount. The intent was clearly to misguide and misinform the Guyanese populace and discretely conceal their wrongdoings.
It is a known practice of the National Assembly, whenever matters are subjudice, that the Speaker of the National Assembly would disallow bills, motions, or questions to be discussed by Members of Parliament, which are perceived by any rational office holder, to be prejudicial to the outcome of a related trial. This was however allowed in the case of the ROPA amendment bill. The Speaker also accepted arguments that are likely to be made during COI and Petition 88 hearings.
The Speaker should be asked to explain to the People of Guyana why he departed from Parliamentary norms and protocols on this particular matter. He has flouted his own rulings on matters before the courts, which he had cause to caution members of the house about previously.
I conclude by saying that the Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr. Manzoor Nadir has not been impartial, and can only be described as one who has allowed the National Assembly to be desecrated. The following are just a few examples: Female members of Parliament abused by Government ministers, his sanction was just a slap on the wrist; Opposition Members of Parliament are called derogatory names by sitting Ministers of Government, again, no major action is taken against them by the Speaker; Opposition Members of Parliament are suspended without due process and again, the Speaker did nothing to correct this. Additionally, Committees continue to meet irregularly without any known sanctions by the Speaker.
Editor, the twelfth Parliament of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, can only be classified as the WORST, since Independence. I urge the Speaker to address these issues if he expects history to be kind to him. As we prepare to welcome 2023, it is my desire to see a more professional and unbiased performance by the Speaker.
Member of Parliament