President to push for break in dialogue deadlock

Guyana Chronicle
April 5, 1999

PRESIDENT Janet Jagan yesterday announced she will in a few days be putting forward a solution to advance the deadlocked talks between the governing People's Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/Civic) and the main Minority People's National Congress (PNC) party.

She did not provide further details at a community meeting in the Mahaicony Creek, East Coast Demerara, but indicated she wanted to proceed with the dialogue and talks with PNC leader, Mr. Desmond Hoyte.

"We want peace in Guyana. We want our people to live and work together...We must not allow ourselves to be divided by race or religion", she told some 200 residents at the Karamat Primary School, Mora Point, Mahaicony Creek.

The Head of State made a public appeal for Guyanese to respect the different cultures that exist here and urged that country folk "come together, be friends, good neighbours, work together (and be) good farmers together."

She added that Guyana is faced with an "unusual situation" in which "the loser can't accept his loss" although the December 15, 1997 general elections had been monitored by local and international observers.

"Unfortunately for Guyana, up to this day, Mr. Hoyte refuses to recognise that the People's Progressive Party (PPP/Civic) won the elections and he refuses to recognise that I'm the President", she pointed out.

The President noted that the PNC leader had even chosen to refer to her merely as Mrs. Jagan, instead of the Head of State.

The President said that in the "heat" of the attacks on the Government and repeated violence in the city in January last year, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders offered to have talks held between her and Hoyte, which ultimately resulted in the Herdmanston `peace' Accord.

She said the three pillars of that agreement which she and Hoyte signed, called for a total examination of the 1997 elections; open dialogue between both political parties for them to "come together and try to iron out their differences" and setting up the Constitution Reform Commission and a request that the PPP/Civic give up two years in office to bring about peace in Guyana.

President Jagan recalled having been invited along with Hoyte to St. Lucia after the second round of violence had erupted in June.

On that occasion, she said the leaders of CARICOM wanted to find out what had gone wrong and why the PNC had not gone into Parliament.

However, she told yesterday's gathering that the PNC leader began complaining that "the PPP is illegal and Mrs. Jagan has no right to be President", although the CARICOM Prime Ministers had refuted his claim.

President Jagan said a second agreement had to be signed for Hoyte and the PNC to re-enter Parliament.

He this year then created an "impasse" by refusing to continue the talks between the PPP/Civic and PNC unless an apology for a statement issued by Dr. Roger Luncheon, Head of the Presidential Secretariat, was forthcoming.

The first public meeting between the President and Hoyte, organised last month by CARICOM dialogue mediator and former Barbados Foreign Minister, Mr. Maurice King, did not get off the ground after Hoyte insisted on a public apology from Luncheon.

In the wake of the stalled dialogue, the President yesterday noted that constitution reform hearings were still being conducted across the country.

"Hatred is one of the worst things in society", President Jagan stressed, adding that the PPP/Civic wants peace in Guyana, from whence will come further development.

President Jagan was in the Mahaicony yesterday to also formally commission a fish farm. (SHARON LALL)