Last Updated on Wednesday, 8 November 2017, 15:02 by Denis Chabrol
Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo on Wednesday declared that his People’s Progressive Party does not have any respect for President David Granger and assailed government on several ‘vulgarities’ including broken promises and extravagant spending of taxpayers’ dollars.
“We do respect the institution of the presidency but not the person who holds that office now,” Jagdeo told a news conference in reaction to Granger’s description of PPP parliamentarians as “vulgarians” because they picketed and heckled him during his address to Parliament last week Thursday.
At the heart of the PPP’s protestations is President Granger’s unilateral appointment of Retired Justice James Patterson as Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) after rejecting the Opposition Leader’s 18 nominees.
House Speaker, Dr. Barton Scotland is yet to comment on the occurrence and would most likely do so on November 17, 2017 when the House meets again. Jagdeo suggested that the Speaker might have approved of the placard bearing in the House because he did not intervene or identify any breach of the standing order.
“The speaker might have agreed with our position because I did not see the Speaker intervene and tell us that we were breaking the standing orders,” he said, adding that the PPP lawmakers were “in no mood” to be lectured by the Speaker.
Jagdeo, himself a former president from 1999 to 2011, said presidential respect has to be earned and not taken for granted. Granger, he said, “loves” pomp,protocol and ceremony “but doesn’t like scrutiny”. “We will treat him with respect once he complies with the our constitution and laws,” he said.
The Opposition Leader listed several decisions by the People’s National Congress Reform-dominated coalition in and out office that amount to vulgarities and disrespect for the presidency.
They include storming of the Office of the Presidency by a group of PNC supporters, disruption of his delivery of a speech from Parliament Building’s balcony, Granger’s abandoning of his own criteria for selecting a GECOM Chairman, no promised jobs for youths, spending of more than GYD$100 million on Escalade and Toyota Crown vehicles and the laying off of thousands of sugar workers of different race and political persuasions. “I can go on now and list the vulgarities in the country…one hundred times more vulgar than the PPP holding up a few placards in the Parliament,” he said.
In the face of condemnations by government ministers who called the PPP’s act hooliganism, virtually domestic terrorism and disrespect for the international community, the Opposition Leader described the parliamentarians’ act as a “robust expression of dissatisfaction with this illegal unconstitutional act.”