Former Deputy Speaker Deborah Backer dies

Former Deputy Speaker Deborah Backer dies

The Peoples National Congress announced on Friday morning that former Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and Party Member Deborah Backer has died. The party in a statement just after 7:30 Friday morning  said Ms. Backer passed away after a brief period of illness.

“The General Secretary of the Peoples National Congress has ordered that the Party flag be flown at half-staff at all PNCR offices around the country.”

Ms. Backer resigned her positions in the National Assembly two months ago as she battled her illness in neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago. She recently returned to Guyana. She has left to mourn her husband, her two children and an entire nation.

Statement by Leader of the Opposition and PNC Leader David Granger

Deborah Jan Osman-Backer

Born – 14th April, 1959

Died 21st March, 2014 (55years) 

Joined the People’s National Congress in 1994 and became a candidate for the Party on its list of candidates to contest the Georgetown Municipality Elections of the Year. Following the election Ms. Backer was selected among ten candidates to represent the PNCR in the Georgetown Municipality. In 1997 she was again selected as a candidate for the Party in the General Election of that year and was elected a member of the National Assembly of the Parliament of Guyana from 1998 to 2001 and was re-elected at each subsequent General Election, 2006 and 2011, until her resignation in February 2014 due to illness.

In 1997 Ms. Backer was co-opted to the Central Executive Committee of the Party and brought new and fresh perspectives to the deliberations of that forum. Because of her work and contributions among the rank and file members, she was elected to the Executive Committee at the Biennial Congress in 2000. In 2004 she was elected Vice Chairman of the Party at the Biennial Congress of that year and served until 2006.

An active member of the Party’s General Council she undertook the task of reviewing the Party’s Constitution often the 2012 Congress recommended same but regrettably was side-lined by illness.

As a Parliamentarian, Ms. Backer served as Shadow Minister of Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs as well as Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly.

The untimely passing of our sister and comrade Debbie Backer is an irreplaceable loss to her Party, to our Partnership, to the Bar, and to the nation. We shall miss her infectious good humour, her unflagging commitment and her tireless pursuit of social justice. Unusually for such a vociferous parliamentary combatant, she was admired and respected across the aisle. As she was fond of saying whenever, as Deputy Speaker, she assumed the Speaker’s chair, “I expect that there will be order and silence in the House.”  This remark was always greeted with peals of laughter, an acknowledgement of her quick wit and ever ready repartee from the front bench, usually an invitation to counter heckling and disorder. She made heckling into an art form, sharp and withering though never personally wounding. The National Assembly has been a duller place for her absence.

We have lost a cherished colleague, a friend for all seasons, a creative parliamentary and political leader, a Guyanese patriot of rare quality.

To her Husband Steve and Children Natasha and  Nigel the Peoples National Congress Reform and A Partnership for National Unity extend our deepest and heartfelt sympathy.

Office of the Leader of the Opposition

Werk en Rust, Georgetown, Guyana


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