Opposition Protest Election of Lenox Shuman as Deputy Speaker
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Sept 1, CMC – Former government minister Manzoor Nadir was on Tuesday elected unopposed as Speaker of the National Assembly. However, opposition legislators walked out to protest the election of Lenox Shuman as Deputy Speaker.
Nadir was nominated by Prime Minister Mark Phillips. The long standing legislator, who was first elected in 1992 at end of the United Force political party.
“Having sat in this very House for some 23 plus years as a member on both the opposition and government sides, I understand the importance of this position and I promise to be impartial, fair, and just while upholding the rules, laws and procedures in the execution of my responsibilities as Speaker of this Honourable House.
“The veracity of this noble Institution must and will be upheld at all times during my tenure,” Nadir said in his acceptance speech.
He told legislators that he is “enthusiastic and dedicated” to making the 12th Parliament one that will positively impact on pertinent issues such as constitutional reform, legislative reform, and the implementation of new laws / Acts that caters for changing realities.
“I am committed to working with all sides of the House to ensure that this 12th Parliament will be inscribed, in the history of our country, as being the most successful and productive ever,” he said.
Opposition members of the coalition, A Partnership for National Unity and the Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) walked out of the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, where the parliament had been convened for its first sitting following the disputed March 2 regional and general election that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) said had been won by the main opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C).
They claimed that the government is sending a distressing and sad signals in selecting Shuman as Deputy Speaker and that the administration had no willingness to work with the opposition in the National Assembly.\
Opposition legislator, Catherine Hughes, had nominated former speaker and government minister Raphael Trotman but the government using its one-seat majority voted in favour of Shuman, who also voted for himself in the 65-member chamber.
“At the end of the day the APNU+AFC is the predominant opposition amassing more than 217,000 votes… How in all consciousness could you not do the right thing and ensure that in the interest of unity and working together that you allow the opposition to fill the position of Deputy Speaker,” Hughes said.
“How do you have someone who will look out for interest of opposition who is now advisor for government… you have now put a person who could not get 3000 votes… he didn’t even have the ability to get his own seat… so I could say who does Mr. Shuman speaks for?” Hughes questioned.
She said the walk out was in protest of bad signals coming from the government inclusive of the election of Shuman as Deputy Speaker.
Shuman is a first time Member of Parliament and was the Liberty and Justice Party’s Presidential Candidate at the last elections. He was recently appointed advisor on Civil Aviation in the PPP/ Civic government. – CMC