Georgetown, Guyana – (November 3, 2017) Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon is urging members of the political Opposition to act responsibly and in the best interest of the country and with respect for its institutions. Speaking at the post-Cabinet media briefing held today at the Ministry of the Presidency, the State Minister flayed Opposition Members of Parliament, who he said conducted themselves, during President David Granger’s address to the National Assembly, in a manner that brings the country’s public offices and institutions into disrepute and disrespects the office of the President.

“We may have our differences; we may have protests; protests are legal, but let us recognise civility. Let us not break down or tear down national institutions and bring disrespect and disregard to those institutions, which are meant to uphold us and hold us as a nation together,” the Minister said.

Adding that the furore created by the Opposition was unfortunate and a significant departure from what is known and accepted as legitimate protest, Minister Harmon said that the reconvening of the National Assembly was not the forum to exhibit that kind of behaviour, particularly since so many members of the diplomatic corps and other dignitaries were present in the House to listen to the President update the nation on the current state of the nation’s affairs and outline his plans for the next financial year. Using a colloquial metaphor, Minister Harmon said, “It’s [as] if you invited someone to your home; you try to show them the best, but when they came there, they gave them the latrine of their behaviour.”

Yesterday’s spectacle aside, the Minister maintains that the wider Guyanese public expects more of their leaders and will not let those types of displays redefine who we are as a people. “We recall in May 2015 after the elections when the Coalition came into Office that there was a swelling of national pride not only here in Guyana but all across the world people felt proud again to be identified as Guyanese and it is this pride that we have to protect and we want to ensure that our national institutions and our national leaders are given that level of civility and courtesy in public life,” Minister Harmon said.

As has become customary, President Granger addressed the National Assembly at the opening of the 71st Sitting of the Eleventh Parliament after a two-month recess. However, during his speech, he was loudly heckled by placard-bearing members of the Opposition intent on drowning him out and who could not be restrained by the Speaker of the House.

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