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Group wants Jagdeo barred from being parliamentarian

Freddie Kissoon addressing attendees at the 1823 Rebellion Monument meeting, Parade Ground.

Exactly one day before Bharrat Jagdeo is expected to kick off the 2015 budget debate, a non-governmental organisation on Sunday said it has lobbied House Speaker Dr. Barton Scotland to put in place water-tight code of conduct that could see the former Guyanese leader being disqualified as a parliamentarian.

“We put forward to him that in the formulation of the code of conduct for parliamentarians, that code must have configurations, demarcations and outlines that will prevent Mr. Jagdeo from being the Leader of the Opposition,” said Activist for the 1823 Rebellion Monument on Parade Ground, Freddie Kissoon.

Told that the former President was expected to be sworn in as Opposition Leader on Monday, August 17, 2015, Kissoon conceded that the organisation’s efforts were unsuccessful but he hoped that the code would be implemented retroactively.

Addressing about 25 persons at the Burnham Basketball Court after a walk from Beterverwagting, East Coast Demerara to sustain awareness about the construction of an 1823 Rebellion Monument on Parade Ground, Political Activist Freddie Kissoon said the House Speaker was asked to craft a code of conduct for parliamentarians that would take into consideration their utterances.

Kissoon cited Jagdeo’s utterances during the 2015 general and regional elections such as the APNU supporters allegedly beating drums early election morning in November 2011 urging their colleagues to go and vote the coolie people out of office. Jagdeo had also remarked at People’s Progressive Party Civic rally that if the coalition had won the May 11, 2015 elections they would link up with their military and invade Guyanese homes and there would be no one to protect them.

“We asked that Mr. Jagdeo’s record be examined in terms of the advocacy of race. If the evidence is there that he excited racist violence and he incited race in such a way that destabilized Guyana’s social stability, he should be debarred from Parliament and we said the evidence is there and we cited the GECOM (Guyana Elections Commission Media Monitoring Unit) of it,” Kissoon later told Demerara Waves Online News.

Kissoon, who campaigned heavily for the APNU+AFC coalition for the May 11, 2015 general elections, said representatives of the 1823 Coalition for the Parade Ground Monument have asked the Speaker to craft the code in such a manner that it could not be challenged successfully in the Court.

The Advocates for the 1823 Rebellion Monument on Parade Ground also do not want violations of the code to be determined by a simple majority of the 65-seat National Assembly to prevent parliamentarians from voting along party lines. Instead, Kissoon said a Committee made up of academics, members of civil society and lawyers under the Chairmanship of the House Speaker should enforce the code and be insulated from legal and parliamentary sanction.

Asked about the House Speaker’s feedback, Kissoon recalled that Dr. Scotland described them as handsome and positive ideas.

Attorney-at-Law, Christopher Ram had filed a private criminal charge that Jagdeo had allegedly uttered racially divisive remarks at Babu John, Port Mourant, Corentyne about APNU supporters having allegedly beaten drums and urged others to get up, go out and vote and throw out those coolie people.

Jagdeo’s lawyers have since moved to the High Court to have the case scrapped. If convicted, Jagdeo could be jailed for as much as two years and barred from holding elected and constitutional offices.