Deborah Backer to be laid to rest on Friday

Deborah Backer to be laid to rest on Friday

Former Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and APNU Member of Parliament Deborah Backer will be laid to rest on Friday 28th March, 2014.

The funeral service will take place from 3 pm at the St. Andrew’s Kirk. The Speaker of the National Assembly has asked the Backer family for the remains of the late Member of Parliament to be taken briefly to the forecourt of the Parliament Buildings before the funeral service.

The National Assembly is expected to host a Night of Reflection on Wednesday night while the People’s National Congress and the APNU will host a Wake at Ms. Backer’s former residence in Durban Backlands on Thursday night. Before the start of the budget presentation on Monday, a moment of silence was observed in Backer’s memory and members from both the Government and Opposition side reflected on her work over the years.

The Peoples National Congress which Backer served as a Member for over two decades has opened a Book of Condolence at its Sophia headquarters. Additionally, other Books of Condolence have been opened at PNC Offices across the country.

Leader of the Peoples National Congress and Opposition Leader David Granger was the first to sign the book of condolence. He said he knew Deborah Backer all of her life, attended her wedding and depended on her advice when it came to politics. He said the late Deborah Backer nee Osman was a very serious and astute politician and focusing only on her humorous side diminishes her memory and all of her fights for a better Guyana. 1510552_10152288492672604_148415095_n

According to Mr. Granger, Deborah Backer was a very industrious woman who committed herself quickly to a task and always offered the best advice.

APNU Chief Whip in the National Assembly, Amna Ally recalled that Ms. Backer was very knowledgeable about the Standing Orders in the National Assembly and many times she would turn to her for guidance and advice. Another APNU Member of Parliament and PNC Member Volda Lawrence recalled that on the professional side, Ms. Backer was always in search of justice and wanted more equality for women. She said she never shied away from letting her voice be heard on important issues.

Mrs. Backer passed away last Friday after a period of illness. She was 54 years old.

See Full PNC Statement Below: 

A Partnership for National Unity and the People’s National Congress Reform are saddened by the death of Mrs. Deborah Jan Backer, née Osman, which occurred last Friday.

She was the third daughter of Sheik Mohamed and Barbara (née Owen) Osman and was a devout Christian of the Presbyterian denomination. She was married to Stephen Gordon Backer and the union bore two children – Nigel Anthony and Natasha Alana.
Mrs. Backer, in her professional life, attended the St Gabriel’s Primary and the Bishops’ High Schools. She graduated with a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) degree from the University of the West Indies and earned the Legal Education Certificate from the Hugh Wooding Law School two years later in 1983.  She has been a practicing attorney-at-law for over 30 years.
She attended courses in Conflict Analysis and Resolution conducted by the University of Guyana-Clark Atlantic University; Mediator Skills Training by the Supreme Court of Guyana and the Carter Center and the Defence Planning and Resource Management and the Advanced Policy-making Seminar: Transformation, Defence and Security Challenges in the Caribbean by the National Defence University, Washington D.C., all in 2002.
Mrs. Backer, in her political life, served as a PNCR member of the Georgetown City Council (1994-97) and as a member of the National Assembly (1998-2014), resigning only last month. She was elected Deputy Speaker in January 2012 and APNU’s shadow minister and spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and was also Chairperson of the Foreign Relations Committee. She served on several Standing and Special Select Committees. She was respected and will be is remembered for her vast and detailed knowledge of the National Assembly’s Standing Orders.
She was a member of the PNCR Central Executive (from 1998) and Vice-Chairperson (2004-2006). She was, at the time of her death, chairperson of the Party’s Constitution Reform Committee following a decision of the 2012 Congress.
Mrs. Backer, in her public life, served as President of the Guyana Society for the Blind (1985-86) and as a member of the International Association of Lions Clubs and a member of the Guyana Association of Women Lawyers, since 1988. She was also Secretary of the University of the West Indies Guild of Undergraduates (1980-1981) and President of the Bishops’ High School Old Students’ Association (1993-94).
Mrs. Backer was recognised and honoured by the National Assembly for her Parliamentary service earlier this month, to mark International Women’s Day.

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