GEORGETOWN, Guyana, February 12, 2021 – Guyana’s Opposition has demanded an apology from House Speaker Mansoor Nadir, for ordering yesterday’s lock-out of several opposition members of parliament, from the opening of the Eighteenth Sitting of the National Assembly which was addressed by Guyana’s President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali.
In a letter to Speaker Nadir, Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon “condemned the treatment of the Members of Parliament of the APNU+AFC at the Eighteenth Sitting of the National Assembly”
Harmon told the Speaker “I along with about 15 Members of Parliament were prohibited from entering the grounds of the Arthur Chung Conference Centre by Officers of the Guyana Police Force.”
He said the opposition was advised that the police were acting on the instructions of the Speaker, and pointed out that “other Members of Parliament were threatened and assaulted by the officers of the Guyana Police Force.
“At least 10 Members of Parliament were locked in the compound of the Convention Centre against their will and prohibited from leaving the compound by Officers of the Guyana Police Force,” he lamented.
Harmon noted that “The events which unfolded today constitute a new low in the annals of our Parliamentary History whereby elected Members of the National Assembly were assaulted on Parliament grounds and their freedom of movement restricted.”
“It is disappointing that since your assumption of the office of Speaker acceptable dissent continues to be suppressed. The events which unfolded today constitute a new low in the annals of our Parliamentary history whereby elected Members of the National Assembly were assaulted on Parliament grounds and their freedom of movement restricted,” Harmon stated in the letter.
“Mr. Speaker it is fair to conclude that under your tenure as Speaker that the constitutionally guaranteed rights and privileges of Members of the National Assembly will not be respected.” He called on the Speaker to offer an apology for his alleged actions.
Coalition MP Sherron Duncan in a statement on his Facebook page, said “This is the dark time. We have never seen a period in our history like this, when Members of Parliament wanting to participate in the sitting of the National Assembly because the president was going to be there, and we were prevented from doing so.”
He said “Every right-thinking Guyanese must condemn the action of the government of Guyana, the fraudulent government of Guyana, led by Bharrat Jagdeo and Irfaan Ali. We should condemn the police force, for their brutal acts today, preventing sitting members of the National Assembly from entering the chamber,” Mr. Duncan said.
In the meantime, House Speaker Nadir has denied giving any instructions to lock out members of parliaments from the Assembly. “I am disheartened, disappointed, but not distressed…it follows that to charge such irresponsible and damning allegations hurled at the chair of the Speaker of the National Assembly is highly condemnable. It ought to be within his basic knowledge that not only is the assertions based on hearsay but also that the Speaker of the National Assembly has no jurisdiction over the operation of the Guyana Police Force,” Nadir stated.
Meanwhile, Harmon said that he intends to bring what occurred on Thursday to the attention of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Parlamericas, Amnesty International, the United Nations (UN), CARICOM and Guyana’s international partners along with other international parliamentary bodies.