Friday, August 13, 2010

Ramjattan's most recent foray in the Kaieteur News an affront to the National Assembly-PPP/C

THE People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has expressed shock at the Kaieteur News article of August 10, 2010 headlined “Housing Minister committed to stand Parliamentary trial” which it says presents a gross misrepresentation of the events leading up to and surrounding Member of Parliament Ramjattan’s motions, the use of a Privilege motion and what the Privilege Committee is required to do. A release from the PPP said: “In fact, one of the issues in the article refers to and repeats an earlier misrepresentation by the same Member of Parliament Ramjattan, on the records of the debate on the supplementary financial paper in January 2010 which was corrected by no less a person than the Speaker who also at that time cautioned both Member of Parliament Ramjattan and the press Kaieteur News about misleading misrepresentation of the facts. By repeating the misinformation again, both Member of Parliament Ramjattan and the Kaieteur News are “thumbing their nose at the Speaker.”
It added: “It is important to point out that the Privilege Committee does not hold a trial; it merely examines the grounds of a prima facie case and whether it can be ruled as contempt of the House or not. The Privilege Committee reports to the National Assembly with its considered opinion. There is no removal of a Member of Parliament from the House as that is not the purview of the Privilege Committee.”
The party said that the Ramjattana’s motions in regards to Minister Dr Ashni Singh and Minister Irfaan Ali relate to an accusation by Ramjattan that contempt of the National Assembly has occurred.
“The Privilege Committee, on Parliament’s resumption from recess, will be convened and will be called on to rule on whether contempt has been committed. The fact that Ramjattan, despite the ruling of the Speaker that no prima facie case had been made against Minister Dr Ashni Singh, continued to use the media to attack the Minister of Finance,” the party said.
The party charged that for Kaieteur News to report Ramjattan’s reckless and hysterical statements reveal Kaieteur News cloven political agenda. “Ironically the Kaieteur News did not have such strong positions nor did it announce in its headlines that Member of Parliament Deborah Backer was “committed to Parliamentary trial” on a similar motion of contempt by Minister Dr Ashni Singh sent to the Privilege Committee in relation to her statements on the Guyana Defence Force.”
“Member of Parliament Ramjattan and Kaieteur News need to be reminded that the matter has been sent to the Privilege Committee. It remains within that body to rule on the issue. Ramjattan and Kaieteur News cannot now expropriate the Parliamentary Committee’s function and be judge and jury before the committee even meets. Typical of this trend of the Kaieteur News to condemn people before evidence is available or provided, before they are allowed to exercise their right to be heard and to face their peers. Basic principles of democracy have been thrown through the window by forces that do not have to face the electorate,” the party noted.
It said that all this is not surprising as Member of Parliament Ramjattan has demonstrated on several occasions a total disregard for the National Assembly and behaves as if his opinion is the only one that is right and he is willing to do everything and anything possible to besmirch the Government, Ministers, MP’s, the Speaker,the Clerk and the Parliament staff to get his face and words in the press. The media that is interested in accountability and bona fides of this Member of Parliament may want to ascertain his track record as a Member of Parliament in the various Committees which is an embarrassment to his party. Of note, the party claimed is his record in the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Economic Services which he is a member; this body invited the Minister of Agriculture and the Board of Managers of GUYSUCO on two occasions in the last two years, most recent in February 2010. The Committee also visited the Skeldon Factory. Ramjattan showed no interest in participating.
“We give notice that this most recent foray of Member of Parliament Ramjattan in the Kaieteur News is an affront to the National Assembly and a total disregard for Parliamentary Privileges and immunities of MP’s and will be addressed by the Government side at the appropriate forum of the Assembly,” the party declared
“The People’s Progressive Party and the People’s Progressive Party/Civic reaffirm their support for Minister Irfaan Ali,” the release said.

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