Nagamootoo resigns from Constitution Reform Commission

Guyana Chronicle
June 12, 1999

INFORMATION Minister, Mr. Moses Nagamootoo, yesterday resigned from the Constitution Reform Commission (CRC) saying he was unable to perform his functions as a member because of his other responsibilities, among other factors.

He is to be replaced as a governing People's Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/Civic) representative by Mrs. Philomena Sahoye-Shury, the Chronicle understands.

In a letter to President Janet Jagan, the Information Minister noted that constitution reform was one of four legs of the Herdmanston Accord, brokered last year by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and subscribed to by the PPP and the main opposition People's National Congress (PNC) "in an effort that could effect a political solution in Guyana."

"The others are: non-use of accusatory or inflammatory language and a moratorium on public demonstrations; acceptance of the CARICOM audit of the 1997 ballots as binding; and inter-party dialogue between the PPP and PNC", Nagamootoo said.

He added: "It has caused me great distress that there have been consistent and routine breaches of the provisions of the accord, and this has forced me to conclude that there exists in Guyana, at the present time, no will for political reconciliation."

"I have also noted the continuing attempts at destabilisation of the elected government, and the campaign of violence and terror to make the country ungovernable. The repeated threats from the PNC leader, Mr. Desmond Hoyte about impending troubles and, more recently from GPSU President, Mr. Patrick Yarde that "all hell will break loose" if the report of the (CRC) is not concluded by July 17, 1999, have made it difficult for me to function as a member of the Commission in this atmosphere of duress."

Nagamootoo told President Jagan he had also indicated that his CRC involvement had been at "great sacrifice" to his work as a Government Minister but he had been encouraged by "honest people who want to strengthen democracy by ensuring greater security and justice for all our people."

"But I became growingly frustrated by the lack of will to achieve these objectives, and I doubt whether a process of constitutional engineering would create an enhanced political culture", he said.

His letter was copied to CRC Chairman, Mr. Ralph Ramkarran and PPP General Secretary, Mr. Donald Ramotar.

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Guyana: Land of Six Peoples