The character and quality of parliamentary democracy depends very much on the elected parliamentarians, their behaviour should be such as to enhance the dignity of parliament and its members in general. The degree of esteem in which the people of a country hold their parliament is a sure sign of the success and maturity of its democratic process. On Thursday last, the opening of the 71st parliament was one at which I was flabbergasted by the unruly, infantile and most disrespectful behaviour by members of the opposition in the highest decision making place in the land. Those ‘honourable’ members have surely set a bad precedent for our young people.
Despite our cultural heterogeneity, the common fabric of Guyana’s culture provides us with the ethos we must honour in both thought and practice. By ethos I mean one’s self-understanding and self-presentation in the world in thought and practice. For example our culture teaches us to have unwavering respect for our parents, elders, teachers and leaders. It’s not about taking sides about who is right or wrong but such unruly behaviour is not acceptable and not expected from Members of Parliament. Their actions in the house can be termed sacrilege to the high level of parliamentary decorum that is expected from our elected leaders.
As the youngest Member of Parliament I cannot over-emphasise how shocked and embarrassed I felt as a Guyanese and young leader. As a child growing up you always know either consciously or unconsciously that the greatest of respect for the President of the land is paramount and absolute reverence is given when you are in the presence of such an office holder.
Don’t they realize where they are? Have they not recognized the dignitaries and heads of various missions in attendance? Aren’t they aware they are breaching the parliament’s standing orders? Those were some of the questions that rushed to my mind, they ought to know, after all they are “honourable members”.
Editor, ideally a responsible and constructive opposition would emphasise more on discussions, ask more questions, help in amendments and passage of important bills, also unite with the ruling government on issues of national interest. However in this country it seems what we have is a very disruptive opposition party that opposes everything for the sake of opposing and that is not good for democracy. Additionally they make proposals for things they have never done in over two decades while they were in power.
The PPP, Editor, has truly gone to the lowest of lows, they have gone into the abyss of gutter politics that knows no boundaries and has no character.
The opposition MPs need to conduct themselves in a dignified and decorous manner for it is said that any institution is as good as its members choose to make it. I strongly believe that the unruly behaviour that was displayed by our opposition members will resonate in the minds of our people for a very long time and more specifically our young people.
It must be noted, that the opposition is systematically trying to deceive and hoodwink the Guyanese people into believing that our democracy is under threat, when in fact they are enjoying the fruits of a free and democratic society. As was displayed last Thursday with their supporters freely demonstrating outside the surroundings of the parliament. Their almost daily press conferences they enjoy with uninterrupted access to private and state media are characteristics of a free and democratic society. Editor, this is the irresponsible Opposition PPP party that is desirous of leading this country into the future. What a future to behold if they ever get to satisfy their insatiable desire for power in the form of a government to man the affairs of this nation?
Oh what a Guyana we would be, as our renowned Guyanese poet Martin Carter puts it amply “this is a dark time my love”.
This coalition government must continue to be the vanguard for our young people, for our patrimony, for decency and respect. It must remain resolute for the sanctity and future for our young people.
Long live our President, long live our beloved Guyana, independent and free.
Member of Parliament