APNU MPs “blinded” by their anti-national stance
It is now clear why the APNU/AFC former Minister of Finance under its tenure was charged recently with misconduct in public office for a sale at a highly undervalued amount of prime state property, and incidentally, being the said individual who, while holding the post of Finance Minister, deliberately did not disclose receipt of a US$18M signing bonus from ExxonMobil, and continued to deny same in the National Assembly until evidence emerged to prove otherwise.
The A (APNU/AFC) party, now in Opposition, on Wednesday 29th December 2021 chanted in full defiance of the Speaker of the National Assembly in attempts to bully the current Minister of Finance as he stood to commence the debate on the new Natural Resource Fund (NRF) Bill.
The new Bill seeks to pave the way for significantly improved management of Guyana’s oil revenue, so as to especially ensure greater transparency and accountability. The People’s Progressive Party /Civic Government was legitimately elected by the people of Guyana, with a mandate to ensure that the Government propel and accelerate Guyana’s economic transformation.
However, it is evident that the APNU/AFC would do anything possible to try and derail the economic development of this country.
With this being said, every sound-minded Guyanese must condemn the blatant and vulgar attempts by the APNU/AFC Opposition to subvert our democracy.
Our nation is still recovering from the blatant attempt by this same APNU/AFC to rig the 2020 elections in an effort to hold on to power. Guyanese, we must safeguard against slipping into the evil-doing of the APNU/AFC again. We cannot continue to allow the APNU/AFC Opposition to make Guyana the Caribbean’s parliamentary laughingstock, we must do better. These APNU/AFC Members of Parliament were elected by you, the APNU/AFC supporters, and some sections of the population to represent you, the people, at the highest decision-making body, not to act out like common bullies and radicals.
One must understand that these APNU/AFC Parliamentary members cannot deny Guyanese the representation they need. These parliamentarians must put the people of Guyana first, while working closely with the Government of Guyana. What took place on December 29 was disrespectful, preplanned, organised and orchestrated prior to December 29, 2021. There is enough evidence to suggest that APNU/AFC MPs came into Parliament with whistles, placards and MPs knew exactly where to find the control room to disrupt the internet.
Persons (MPs) who are responsible for violently snatching the speaker’s Mace during the 34th sitting of the Twelfth Parliament, held on Wednesday night, should not go unpunished. The Opposition’s behaviour was a “treacherous act”, and, as such, there must be consequences for those who attempted to undermine and disrupt one of the three branches of Government.
The Mace is the most significant symbol in the National Assembly, representing the authority of Parliament. It is unfortunate that the invasion of Parliament is yet another example of the APNU+AFC bullies trying to take matters into their own hands, while frustrating and undermining the national good and the advancement of positive national objectives, which is typical APNU+AFC behaviour.
It must be known that our PPP/C Government would not delay the development of Guyana and Guyanese for the selfish interest of the APNU/AFC. This was made crystal clear by the Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh.
What happened on Wednesday, December 29, 2021 must not go down lightly, because it’s saying that it’s okay to do this; that anybody could do this, and it’s fine… This is unacceptable to undermine and try to stop, not just this bill anymore, but to stop the institution – the legislature – from meeting.
The Government of Guyana, hours after the Parliament session ended, issued a statement to rebuke the Opposition’s “despicable and reprehensible” behaviour.
It noted that this hallmark piece of legislation, which has repealed the APNU/AFC’s 2019 Act, will ensure the security, transparency and accountability that Guyanese need in order to benefit from the oil and gas revenues. The Bill provides for a governance structure of how these monies would be used, with continuous public disclosures, audits and Parliamentary approvals.
The APNU/AFC MPs, “blinded” by their anti-national stance, failed to notice that the Government was determined to proceed with the people’s business and conclude this historic piece of legislation on behalf of our people and nation.
The PPP/C Government will not be derailed by threats, intimidation and bullyism; this has been affirmed during the long 5 months after the March 2nd General and Regional Elections, when the same APNU+AFC Coalition tried to steal the elections and subvert the will of the people to elect their representatives at a free and fair election.
It must be noted that the Opposition proposed fourteen amendments to the Local Content Bill, of which ten were accepted by the Government side, and the bill was successfully passed with those amendments without disruption.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the NRF Bill. The Opposition presented no proposed amendments, refused to debate the Bill, and instead opted to disrupt the proceedings at all cost to prevent the successful passage of this landmark Bill.
The new Bill, passed on Wednesday, December 29, 2021, contains enhanced clauses, including a significant one which provides for the establishment of a Board of Directors that would be responsible for reviewing and approving the policies of the Fund and monitoring its performance, thereby separating the management of the Fund from the Minister responsible for finance.