Dialogue teams meet on new agenda

Stabroek News
June 15, 1999

Members of the PPP/Civic and PNC dialogue teams met yesterday at Le Meridien Pegasus where they wrestled with a new agreed agenda for the talks.

This "preliminary meeting", according to a release from the Office of the CARICOM Facilitator, Maurice King, was to discuss agenda proposals by both sides. The two sides were to resume dialogue following an agreement brokered by Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, on May 8.

The release said that they have agreed that "they would exchange summary statements on the items they proposed for inclusion in an agreed agenda." The two sides will meet again on August 6, because of "previous overseas commitments by members of the PNC dialogue team between June 19, and July 31," and "every effort will be made to meet twice weekly," the release said.

It said that the PPP/Civic proposed for inclusion issues such as race relations and legislation to concretise equal opportunities; national development strategy; taxation policy; social safety net creation; poverty alleviation; public sector reform; national health and education policy; elections commission; and local government elections.

According to the release, the PNC indicated that it proposed to retain the items previously identified in the dialogue. Among issues which were identified by King in a release issued on January 31, were land selection committees and house lot distribution; and statutory meetings between government ministers and opposition spokespersons. There is also the issue of opposition representation on state boards, commissions and committees on which the dialogue stalled in February.

Present at yesterday's meeting were Donald Ramotar and Gail Teixeira for the PPP/Civic and Lance Carberry and Lloyd Joseph for the PNC.

Yesterday the PNC in a release from Congress Place expressed its disappointment that a meeting which was set for Friday had to be aborted because of the non-attendance of the PPP/Civic. The meeting was the first scheduled since the agreement brokered by Anyaoku.

Anyaoku's statement had anticipated the dialogue process being resumed as early as the week beginning May 15, but the PPP/Civic had informed CARICOM, through Foreign Minister, Clement Rohee, that it wished to "revisit the role of the CARICOM Facilitator in the context of the resumed dialogue process". It said too that it needed to discuss the agenda for the process in the light of the agreement that the dialogue process was taking place between political parties and not government and opposition.

Informed sources told Stabroek News that the PPP/Civic had explained to King its reasons for not being present at the meeting on Friday.

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