Norton, Teixeira at odds over PPP flags on building used for National Assembly sittings

Last Updated on Sunday, 5 May 2024, 16:07 by Writer

Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton on Saturday condemned the governing People’s Progressive Party (PPP) for placing its party flag inside and outside the government-owned building that is also being used to hold sittings of the National Assembly, but a top party official vowed that nothing would stop that.

Mr Norton highlighted that the Laws of Guyana explicitly prohibit the flying of party flags after elections and on government buildings. “These regulations are in place to ensure that political parties do not exert undue influence or assert party paramountcy over state institutions. By flouting these laws, the PPPC is demonstrating a lack of respect for the people of Guyana and is clearly signaling that its main aim is the total control and domination of Guyana. All Guyanese must reject this push towards totalitarianism,” the Opposition Leader said.

The Opposition said it strongly condemned the PPP’s actions for flying its party’s flags and symbols throughout the country outside of election periods and specifically for displaying their flags on the Arthur Chung Convention Centre, Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown.

“This blatant disregard for established laws and international conventions not only undermines the principles of decency and democracy but also sets a dangerous precedent that prioritizes party interests over national unity and respect for the rule of law,” said Mr Norton who is also leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR).

However, PPP Executive Committee member, Gail Teixeira reacted swiftly to the Opposition Leader’s criticisms, and said nothing would stop her party from doing so. “We will fly our flags, we will fly our Guyana flags inside, outside of elections because we are the true party of the people,” she said at the opening of the PPP’s 32nd Congress being held at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre.

In an apparent effort to stave off a lash-back by the PPP, Mr Norton acknowledged that the PPP had objected to the flying of Party flags on state buildings when the PNC was in government. Though the PNC in government, he said, accepted the national consensus and had ensured that that practice came to an end, it was clear that the PPP was taking a backward step. “The PPP is taking Guyana back to an era which we all agreed to leave behind. It is in this context we see the practice as politically destabilizing and a threat to democratic principles and practices in Guyana. We call on the PPP to end this practice immediately,” he said.

In her reaction to the Opposition Leader, Ms Teixeira dismissed his concern as “nonsense”. “They got short memories, when the PNC flag flew over the judiciary and the Guyana Defence Force and every ministry in this country,” she said, adding that Mr Norton has a “real problem.”

He contended that the act of prominently displaying party flags and symbols across Guyana, even when there are no elections taking place, sends a troubling message that party interests supersede national unity and cohesion. He added that it creates an environment where partisan allegiances are prioritized over collective progress and inclusivity. Mr Norton further argued that such actions erode public trust in the political process and sow division among citizens, ultimately weakening the fabric of society and sending the signal that the One Guyana mantra is a farce.

The opposition called on the PPP to immediately cease the unauthorized display of party flags and adhere to the laws and conventions that govern such practices. “It is imperative that all political parties in Guyana uphold democratic values, respect the rule of law, and prioritize national interests above partisan agendas. Failure to do so threatens the stability and harmony of the nation”, Mr Norton added.