PNCR motion to discuss killings denied
Stabroek News
December 12, 2003

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A request for Parliament to discuss the crime situation was denied yesterday by the Speaker, Ralph Ramkarran, who said it failed to satisfy the criteria "for what is normally understood to be a motion."

PNCR MP Debra Backer requested leave of the Speaker to move the adjournment of the National Assembly for the discussion of the crime wave, as a matter of urgent, public importance.

"No doubt every single Guyanese is concerned with the fragile security situation..." Backer told the Assembly, noting that between September 27 and December 10 no less than 32 people had been killed.

But Ramkarran said her request for a discussion did not meet the criteria of a motion, as it failed to indicate how Parliament should act on it, whether by a vote or an expression of an opinion.

Also, he explained that a matter of urgent public importance was considered a single event of recent occurrence rather than an issue that has developed over a matter of weeks.

"It must be a matter of prima facie urgency, a recent occurrence raised without delay and the fact that it is continuing is not sufficient [to satisfy the basic rules]."

"No doubt it is a matter of some importance and we wish to treat it as a matter of some importance," Ramkarran said.

"I respect your ruling and I am happy that the house does not feel that the crime situation is an urgent issue," Backer quipped after the decision.