All sides should return to dialogue and allow the budget to be properly interrogated

Dear Editor,

The issue of the consideration of the 2018 Budget Estimates and the way the Parliament is managed is one for the elected parliamentarians, the selected Speaker and the other appointed officers of the Guyana Parliament to act upon as instructed by the Constitution of Guyana. There is no place in that legislative arrangement for the police in the Chamber. More importantly, there is no place for police brutality in any square inch of Guyana, especially in the hallowed hall of Parliament.  The Granger government is responsible for the safety and well-being of all parliamentarians and for that matter all citizens.  But more importantly, the delivery of this sacred duty is expected, especially when the House is in session.

I am disturbed by the reports I have seen, read and listened to over the last few hours which outlined a calculated act to suppress the voice of the people.  It is expected that all Guyanese will be treated humanely irrespective of their politics, and it is unfortunate that the Speaker of the House has misled the Parliament for so many months exposing publicly his unfitness for the post.

But what is worse is how an operation out of the Office of the Prime Minister called the DPI (Department of Public Information) mishandled the truth and attempted to massage its message into nothing else but fake news.  I must commend the independent media led by operators like Neil Marks for standing their ground and for playing their important and legitimate role as the Fourth Estate by ensuring that the truth surfaced.  It is important that the truth overcomes the rubberstamp news coming out of the Office of the Prime Minister.

The ordinary Guyanese people have by and large conducted themselves with decorum over the years and they expect nothing less from their parliamentarians and other high officials.  This act of the Speaker of the Parliament to attempt to curtail the people’s constitutional right to speech and expression by denying their elected representative a chance to interrogate the 2018 Budget, must be condemned by all.

I urge all sides in the House to return to the table of dialogue and allow this 2018 Budget to be properly interrogated so that the Guyanese people can be better informed on how their taxpaying dollars are being spent.  Nothing less should be expected.

Yours faithfully,

Sase Singh

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