Speaker of the National Assembly, Manzoor Nadir, this morning reprimanded Leader of the Opposition Joseph Harmon and Opposition Member of Parliament Sherod Duncan for breaching several parliamentary Standing Orders, including attacking his character.
Speaker Nadir said, after last Thursday’s sitting, it appeared to have been an “open season” to criticise the House Speaker and level accusations of biasness against him over his decisions regarding several motions tabled by the Opposition.
Nadir referred to social media post made by Duncan in which he said, “Mister Speaker started out nice like them new cook shop, and then the price raise and the standards fall. I thought after the second bout of COVID he’d stay closer to God, but the devils got him bias, partisan… you name it. Everybody showing deh self for 30 pieces of silver. Guess, after protesting Granger at Pegasus there no coming back, is just straight to hell.”
While reading the content of Duncan’s Facebook post, there were spouts of laughter from Opposition MPs to which the Speaker remarked “and that is funny.”
He then cautioned Duncan to desist from such actions.
“Honourable members, the Honourable Duncan’s social media comments and lampoon is a direct charge of bias against the Speaker and imputes on the Speaker’s character. Also, it’s something that is not condoned in a West Minster Parliamentary system.”
Nadir also mentioned that on January 28, Duncan hosted Harmon on his social programme during which they, again, attacked the character of the Speaker and accused him of being “coaxed” by the government’s side – all in violation of the Standing Order.
In fact, he noted that the most vile and atrocious actions that emanated from the Leader of the Opposition is when he said, “They – the PPP/C – are blocking things and they are getting the help of the Speaker to prevent certain measures from going through… Very early we had an indication that the Speaker was going to take a position on this matter that the matter is sub-judice…”
Harmon was at the time referring to the Speaker’s decision to not allow the Opposition’s Motion on the West Berbice killings of Isaiah and Joel Henry and Haresh Singh. He imputed that the Speaker was in collusion to prevent the motion from being heard.
But according to Nadir, he had clearly outlined the process, noting that the motion was circulated in accordance with the necessary timelines and included in the Order Paper.
However, it was a matter of sub-judice hence it was not allowed, noting that such matters are well documented.
“I am neither anyone’s little boy nor am I intimidated by the front yard or the backyard rues. Any occurrences or reoccurrences of the breaches of the Standing Orders, I will have to ask a minister to move a motion – and that is in Standing Order 47(3) to refer the errant member or members to the Committee of privilege,” the Speaker posited.
In response to the Speaker’s reprimand, Harmon said that the ANU/AFC has the right to speak on behalf of its more than 200,000 supporters. He also indicated that he takes strong offence to the Speaker describing his behaviour as “backyard”.
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