kaieteur news Nov 06, 2017
Former Speaker of the National Assembly, Sase Narain, said he would have sanctioned the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Members of Parliament (MPs) for their behavior inside the House during the President’s address last Thursday.
Narain told Kaieteur News that he would have stopped the sitting and called a meeting with the Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo, and the Leader of Government, Moses Nagamootoo, to warn them to desist from disrupting the President’s address.
“I would warn them to stop. On Thursday, they should have been given a warning and if they didn’t comply then sanction them. That is what I would have done. They must show respect for the President whether you like him or not,” Narain stated.
Asked about the level of sanction, the former Speaker said that he would have ejected them from the House. If they had refused to leave he would have called the police to evict them.
The former Speaker is famously known for his decision to ban the late President and PPP leader, Dr. Cheddi Jagan, from speaking in the National Assembly after he refused to apologize for throwing law books on the floor and for dislodging away the Speaker’s mace.
Narain had also expelled PPP MP Ishak Bashir who threw a drinking glass at him. The glass had missed the Speaker.
Narain stated that it is not for him to tell the current Speaker, Dr. Barton Scotland, how to manage the proceedings of the National Assembly.
“It is not about the Speaker of the House, it is the dignity of the House that must be protected and maintained. Every Speaker has his own take on things, but Parliamentarians have a responsibility also. You can’t behave like that inside the National Assembly,” Narain maintained.
The Government has roundly criticized the opposition members for their disruptive behavior which included waving placards and shouting which drowned out parts of the President’s presentation. Many believed that the Speaker should have intervened.
Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, said the behaviour of the opposition represented a significant departure from what is known as legitimate protest.
“The occasion itself was not a proper forum to exhibit that kind of behaviour before your President and before all of those persons whom you invited into your house.
“It’s like if you invite somebody into the home you try to show them the best, but when they come there you give them the latrine,” Harmon had stated.
Prime Minister and First Vice President, Moses Nagamootoo, said President Granger discharged his responsibility well by delivering his address despite the noise from the opposition.
“I believe it is unprecedented…I have never seen political domestic terrorism introduced in the House the way I saw it [Thursday] because it was to terrorize the President from continuing, hoping that he would stop and walk away,” Nagamootoo stated.
The PPP/C has been unapologetic about what transpired during the sitting.