Fed up with the filthy condition outside Parliament Building, Speaker of the National Assembly Raphael Trotman says he may not work this Thursday but instead lead a protest to press authorities to clean the area outside the historic structure where anti-litter and mental health laws have been passed.
“I am very distressed about the state of the immediate surroundings of Parliament… Unless I see some change I am will be starting my own protest I will be thinking hard if as Speaker I will be turning up for duties on Thursday, I am fed up,” Trotman told Stabroek News . The next sitting of the National Assembly is set for Thursday.
He said that since taking up his post as Speaker of the National Assembly he has complained repeatedly to members of parliament and the respective authorities. These complaints, he said, have all fallen on deaf ears.
“We put on a show by day and we have Parliament for that day and we don’t care if the vagrants, drug addicts, dealers and thieves take it over for the rest of the week … Every (political) party is there .They see, they know, I have been complaining over and over and over. This is a national embarrassment,” he lamented.
The area to the western side of the building has been littered with piles of garbage as persons from Stabroek Market and other places dump their refuse there. The stagnant and fetid drain poses a health risk as the water overflows onto the parliament grounds and recently has been flooding the barracks of the police ranks in the compound. “At the back …grimy, smelly, filthy stagnated water came up and overflowed to the back of the Parliament… I would like to get the drain at that side of the compound cleaned. It probably has crocodiles and snakes and God knows what else in there,” he asserted.
Another concern was the large number of vagrants and persons of unsound mind who use the area as their dwelling and can be seen eating, sleeping and excreting waste at any time of the day.
Trotman has said before that despite his efforts he has not been able to remove those persons who seem to have made the surroundings of Parliament Buildings their home.
The presence of vagrants around this very important national building is a longstanding issue which for some reason is yet to be effectively addressed.
While the Speaker wants the persons removed he said that he would like to see them placed in facilities designed for their social ills. “I would like to see the vagrants removed and not just removed they should be taken to a home or it’s just taking the problem somewhere else. The mad people should go to their institution,” he stressed.
In addition, he said that there have been numerous complaints to him by members of the public about persons being robbed in the vicinity of parliament. “Every day you hear of someone being choked and robbed around there…on the outside has to be some kind of police patrol to prevent the robberies so that people walking there can feel safe”.
It is to this end that the Speaker is pleading with parliamentarians that his office be designated an independent body and accordingly be given a budget to gather the required skills to deal with the issues at hand.
“I would like political parties to push for the independence of the Parlia-ment/National Assembly. The Parliament should have its own budget. That way we could pay someone to clean the outside and possibly employ a private security agency to do things for Parliament that has to be done rather than relying on the mercy of other agencies,” he noted.
“It is the people’s Parliament and people should feel some semblance of pride. Something drastic has to be done,” he added.