Reform advocates different approach

Guyana Chronicle
March 31, 2001

THE Reform section of the People's National Congress Reform (PNC/R) yesterday issued a statement in its own name which called for "power sharing that is meaningful, inclusive and structured".

But PNC/R leader, Mr Desmond Hoyte last night appeared to have stuck with his previous position that he was not interested in power sharing.

In a statement on Channel 28, he dismissed what he called "horse-trading" and "cosmetic" arrangements and outlined several issues for structured talks on the governance of the country.

The PNC/R has called for dialogue on several issues after the People's Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) victory at the March 19 elections.

President Bharrat Jagdeo, at a televised news conference last week Friday night, noted a promise he had made during the elections campaign and of a vision in the party's manifesto of inclusivity.

"... there may be people who did not vote for the PPP/C, but my vision included all of them...," he reiterated, adding that his hope is for all Guyanese to work together.

The President's vision of inclusivity, he told reporters, does not relate only to the legislative arm of the government but will include other arms of the government and can see the PPP/C Government party comprising persons from outside the party.

Among the immediate plans of President Jagdeo is to meet Mr Hoyte, as Leader of the Opposition.

The President called on Guyanese to lay to rest what had happened during the elections, to remain calm and begin a process of healing.

He also urged leaders of the main opposition, the PNC/R and the other political parties, to appeal to their supporters to let calm prevail in the country.

In a statement yesterday, the Reform wing of the PNC said it was "totally opposed to any form of violence for political goals."

It said its vision of `Putting Guyana First' "has been consumed by the resurrection and manipulation of racial distrust" but it remained "undaunted in its quest to change Guyana's political culture."

"Both major parties need to realise that it should not matter who has won or lost. Let Guyana win", it said.

The Reform group backed power sharing as "an absolute prerequisite for Guyana's growth and said this must be both political and economic."

Observers last night noted that the PNC/R went into the elections having rejected the option of "power sharing".

They also pointed out that Mr Hoyte had insisted, at a pre-election debate with some other presidential candidates that the "traditional" opposition is a virtual feature of democracy.

A PPP/C official found it "strange" that the Reform group had issued a statement in its own name when it had signed a compact with the PNC which talked about a single undivided party.

"It's confusing on whose behalf the statement has been issued and it may be a ploy in the given situation", he suggested.