Concerted effort for its consideration

Guyana Chronicle
July 31, 1999

PARLIAMENTARY parties are pushing to expedite consideration of the Report presented to the House by the Constitution Reform Commission.

Yesterday, Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Mr Reepu Daman Persaud convened a meeting with opposition parties to discuss the way forward for dealing with the Report.

"I thought it was very cordial, very useful and steps will be taken at the next sitting of Parliament to move the process forward," Persaud told the Chronicle.

"The meeting discussed the way forward for dealing with the Report laid in the National Assembly. This may include meeting during (parliamentary) recess."

The meeting which started at 14:00 hours, was attended by Mr Winston Murray and Mr Raphael Trotman of the People's National Congress; Mr Manzoor Nadir of The United Force (TUF) and Dr Rupert Roopnaraine of the Alliance For Guyana (AFG).

Persaud, who distributed a release at Thursday's sitting of the National Assembly, expressed the view that, as a result of informal consultations, common ground can be achieved on all procedural issues.

The Report to reform the country's 1980 Constitution was handed in to the Parliamentary Select Committee on July 17 and laid in the House last week.

Persaud has pledged speedy advancement of the process.

Leader of the PNC, Mr Desmond Hoyte told reporters this week that he had written Persaud suggesting that parliamentary recess be ignored to consider the report.

Persaud confirmed receipt of Hoyte's letter and said it will have to be considered.

The 20-man Commission, sworn in on January 22 by President Janet Jagan, was given a July 17 deadline to present its Report to Parliament, as provided for in two Caribbean Community (CARICOM) brokered "peace" agreements signed last year between the governing People's Progressive Party Civic (PPP/Civic) and the main opposition PNC.

The agreements were signed by President Jagan and PNC leader, Mr Desmond Hoyte, amid rising tensions and violence sparked by anti-government street protests.

Fresh elections are projected by 2001, 18 months after the presentation of the report. (MICHELLE ELPHAGE)

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