Jagdeo draws line under flag-raising seating row

Although he lamented the “disorganisation” of the 50th Anniversary event planners that saw him and party members walk out of the May 25th flag-raising for lack of seats, former President Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday said that it was time “to move on”.

“I believe that we should put this past us and move on and not dwell on it. Our country deserves better, we have to move forward,” Jagdeo told a press conference yesterday at PPP headquarters at Freedom House.

Minister within the Ministry of Education Nicolette Henry has issued an apology for any “inconvenience, embarrassment or distress” caused by the opposition’s walkout from the jubilee flag-raising event last Wednesday night, over what it said was inadequate seating for its members.

In a statement, Henry said the PPP/C delegation arrived later than had been agreed and used the incorrect entrance. She added that by the time other invited persons had been asked to give up their seats to ensure that the opposition members were seated, the PPP/C members had walked out.

But while the now Leader of the Opposition says that he will not dwell on the “disorganised” event, coupled with the fact that the party has already issued press releases on it, he wanted to clear the air on untruths levelled at him and members.

“Notwithstanding everything I said about the planning process, the lack of transparency surrounding the spending, the grave concerns we had about the involvement of people, we said we will participate in the celebration of the 50th anniversary…because this country belongs to all of our people. This is not an APNU event …” he asserted.

Jagdeo said that unlike what was reported by the Junior Minister of Education, who headed the 50th Anniversary Committee, he and his members did not arrive late and this can be rechecked through video recordings since he did an interview with the State Media upon arrival at the VIP stairway.

He believes that persons said he was late because they saw his vehicle in the parking lot with a driver trying to find parking.

However, he pointed out that he did not arrive in that vehicle but together with his party members and their family members in a bus.

He said too that Henry never informed him that seating was being looked at for the other members who were not given seats.

The Opposition Leader said that the reason he left with his members was because he felt the act of not having adequate seats for them was deliberate and an attempt to publicly humiliate them. As such he said seeing the looks of humiliation on the faces of members and the family members they brought along, he could not sit alone and watch them suffer.

“We have to be really silly to tell the minister to not to find seats for us so that we could walk out. It is really pushing it…We had to leave. It was the humiliation.

I believe it was designed to humiliate us and at best incompetence, but I could not stay there as a leader and watch our MPs, with their spouses etc. standing there, when you had a VIP area of one thousand seats,” he stressed.

“These are members of parliament when I looked at the people who were there half of them were regulars,” he added.




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