As the National Assembly got along with its business on Thursday afternoon, People’s Progressive Party (PPP) MP Komal Chand moved a motion for all the business of the House to be suspend and allow for a debate on the closure of the Wales Sugar Estate.
Chand, the head of the Guyana Agricultural Workers Union in his request urged that House Speaker Dr Barton Scotland allow a debate on the closure.
The career Trade Unionist told the House that as a result of the closure of the estate, thousands of persons would be placed on the breadline.
“As a result of the closure of the estate nearly 2000 workers and their families and dozens of farmers and thousands of others shall be placed on the breadline,” he stated adding that the closure “shall cause immeasurable damage to the economy, social stability and to national drainage structures in close proximity.”
According to Chand the announcement by the Government had a ripple effect “on not only the sugar workers but on the thousands of people in the communities, on the score of cane farmers, on small businesses vendors and so on,” hence the need for the debate.
The debate would have also sought to rally support for against the move by the government asking for a full reversal.
“Wales estate is the only breadline in that area and this announcement is contrary to what we were told on what to expect after this new government took office,” said Chand.
Dr Scotland in response stated that such motions are “extraordinary matters” and would have to be closely considered.
He explained that there are three fundamentals that must be considered before such a motion is considered and identified those elements as the issue being definite, it must be urgent and it must be of public importance.
The Speaker went on to indicate that he was satisfied that three of those elements were satisfied but did not see the urgency of such a debate since the closure would not take effect until December 2016.
“All of these realities lead the Speaker to the conclusion that the (urgency) requirement for the debate is not filled. The motion fails to meet one of three the indispensable criteria and therefore it is disallowed,” said Scotland.
The entire Opposition side of the House the rose in protest of the decision then, with Chief Whip Gail Teixeira invoking Standing Order 12, 3B.
“We do not agree with your interpretation of urgency,” said Teixeira adding that the PPP is “Appealing for the motion to be allowed.”
Again the request was denied.