Parliament to sit in June, all attending must be vaccinated – sources say

A sitting of the National Assembly is expected to held in mid-June, sources close to Parliament of Guyana have said. This publication has learnt that the Parliament is expected to impose a mandatory policy that all persons attending the sittings now held at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre, have to be vaccinated. These would include Members of Parliament, parliamentary staff, police officers, catering staff and members of the media.

Parliament staff have been encouraged to get vaccinated through a special vaccination drive held by the Ministry of Health and the Everest Cricket Club of which the Speaker, Manzoor Nadir is a member of. The staffers have been told that they would have to be vaccinated or would have to do the COVID-19 test every five days at their expense.

Just recently, Guyana’s Leader of the Opposition wrote to the International Parliamentary Union citing what he says is the erosion of parliamentary democracy as the National Assembly is yet to meet since March. The National Assembly was convened in February to debate the national budget that was passed in early March. It has now been more than 80 days since the National Assembly met.

“There is no indication from the Speaker of any intended date for another sitting,” the letter reads.

It estimates that some 487 questions for oral and written replies have been submitted by the Opposition Members of Parliament. These questions relate to health, security, governance, environment, education, economic and international Relations issues. They are yet to be addressed by government ministers.

The Leader of the Opposition in his letter said that the Speaker is also yet to act following a ruling from the High Court of Guyana on the appointment of two parliamentary secretaries.
“The two Members of Parliament appointed as Parliamentary Secretaries by the Government are unlawfully appointed and despite the service of order of court upon the Speaker he has taken no discernible steps to remove those persons as Members of Parliament.”

The National Assembly is yet to address these two issues publicly.