Last Friday a motion was brought before the House that said: “Be it resolved, that this National Assembly records its deep regret on the death of Mr. Abdul Kadir, on 28th June, 2018, and pays tribute to his dedicated service to the Parliament of Guyana as a Member of Parliament where he served in the Eighth Parliament, from 17th April, 2001 to 2nd May, 2006, and to the people of Guyana.” This motion was debated and passed.
It is well-established custom and practice in our Parliament that the House takes time off from regular business to acknowledge and recognise a deceased Member’s contribution to the country at the highest decision-making level of government. This acknowledgement is given whether the Member at the time of death was serving, retired, resigned, expelled or left the Assembly for whatever reason. As a people we must acknowledge that being a Member of Parliament (MP) in any capacity, in any country, is a distinguished achievement whether or not the performance is similarly distinguished.
Abdul Kadir is one such distinguished Guyanese among several who have served this country in the National Assembly. As such Parliament’s move in keeping with norms to honour his service is consistent. It cannot be disputed that Kadir during this period, 17th April 2001 to 2nd May 2006, had an unblemished record as a MP, citizen of Guyana and the world. During the period under review it cannot be denied that this man distinguished himself in his career, family life, academics, other achievements, and service to his community. Nothing can erase the fact of those contributions to society’s development.
That Kadir somewhere along the line found himself engaged in activities for which he was convicted in 2010 under the United States’ terrorist laws is a fact that is indisputable. I am sure the family, friends, people who loved him and the people of Guyana, inspite of his outstanding service and contributions to our country, were affected when he was accused and convicted of terrorism. Without a doubt it brought shock, disbelief, shame, condemnation, dismay, anger and other emotions to his loved ones and countrymen.
In keeping with the typical response to every issue where political mileage can be sought, passage of the motion has become an issue for partisan political wrangling and excessive rhetoric, which further divides this nation and denies us an opportunity to acknowledge truth even in its sometimes bitter state. The fact that Kadir was so honoured in the Assembly for the period which he served, and which is consistent with this body’s protocol, puts no stain on Parliament, the use of the Parliamentary Resolution, Guyana or democracy. Kadir’s record in the House is indelibly written in the Hansard of Guyana.
It would have been helpful to the national discourse had the media stated the normalcy surrounding recognition given to deceased MPs in the National Assembly. Unless this norm is changed by the Members themselves every person who served will be honoured after death and this includes Charrandass Persaud whose name is presently the subject of heated national debate for breaking ranks with his coalition colleagues in supporting the Opposition to unseat them.
It is inopportune for some to seek to ignore these aforesaid stated fundamentals and find the issue more favourable to be a weapon for partisan gain. And to the issue of crime, we as a nation must remember that all crimes are bad -white collar, blue collar, corruption, executive lawlessness, public sabotage, domestic or international terrorism, and even those not convicted in a court of law due to technicality or other reasons. We cannot cherry pick or see justification in one as against the other or turn a blind eye to those who commit same because they are of us. Society functions better where truth and accountability apply to all.