Weighing in on recent reports about the eating and drinking habits of MPs, former Speaker of the National Assembly, Ralph Ramkarran said that the quarrel in Parliament is most unusual because it is MPs themselves who created this situation.
“When I first entered Parliament as an MP in 1997, MPs were served “tea,” consisting of non-alcoholic beverages and sandwiches. I resigned my seat in Parliament in 2000 at the request of President Jagdeo to sit on the Elections Commission for the 2001 elections. When I returned to Parliament as the Speaker in May 2001, a full lunch was served in paper plates with plastic forks and spoons. Consistent agitation by MPs led to the improvements in the presentation and quality that now prevail. The past and current governments have approved the parliamentary budgets after detailed consideration. It is hypocrisy to complain now”, Ramkarran said in his column in yesterday’s Sunday Stabroek.
He also disclosed that some MPs were given to making unusual food requests.
“Meals are chosen with an eye to the broad dietary choices that prevail in Guyana for religious and cultural reasons. But special consideration may apply to individual MPs. Some years ago, one MP informed the Clerk that for religious reasons, he/she could only consume duck, and an entire duck at a time, prepared in a special way, which he/she elaborated in detail. The Clerk thought it odd but complied. The MP consumed the duck in two meals at one sitting. Another MP learnt of the special privilege and demanded six curried boiled eggs per meal at every sitting. The Clerk again complied. Soon, another MP heard of these peculiar requests, and demanded, more modestly, curried chicken. Fearing escalating demands, the Clerk then referred the matter to me as Speaker. I revoked his decisions, to the chagrin of the MPs, particularly the MP with the peculiar religious predilection for that popular member of the waterfowl family”, Ramkarran said.