Leaders and members of various religious denominations in Guyana, including Bishop Francis Alleyne OSB of Georgetown, joined together July 7 to express concerns about country, civility, and conduct by Members of Parliament.
Representatives of the Muslims, Hindu and Bahá’í communities under the umbrella of the Inter Religious Organisation (IRO), along with members of the Anglican Diocese of Guyana, Assemblies of God, the Guyana Congregational Union, the Guyana Presbyterian Church, Practical Christian Ministries and the Catholic Church issued a statement stating that regardless of political persuasion, public officials should conduct the people’s business “in an atmosphere of mutual respect, decorum and grace”.
In their statement, the faith leaders affirmed the goodness of the country’s fledgling democracy and the legitimacy of all rights, roles and responsibilities of citizens and public officials alike.
At the start of the July 7 Parliamentary sitting, Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland called on MPs to conduct themselves in such a way that they will not bring disgrace to the “noble institution” and themselves.
The Catholic Standard reported that some sittings had become disruptive recently, and in June the Speaker left the Chambers when some MPs refused to resume their seats in protest against an order by the Speaker.
Referring to two prior sittings where what he described as “unprecedented scenes” took place, the Speaker said, “None of them do credit to our institution nor to ourselves as Members of Parliament – all of them avoidable and none of them excusable….By our conduct, we gave to the public on whose behalf we claim to act, at best, a poor lesson in parliamentary decorum,” the Speaker said.