CRC lauded for timely completion of its work

Stabroek News
July 25, 1999

The Constitutional Reform Commission (CRC) rose to the challenge of completing its work within the deadline stipulated by the Herdmanston Accord in true Guyanese style.

This was the view of Cabinet Secretary, Dr Roger Luncheon, when he spoke with members of the media on Friday at the GTV studios, Homestretch Avenue.

And PNC leader, Desmond Hoyte, is on record as saying that the CRC did a very good job and has created the conditions in which Guyana can move forward to have a Constitution which can have a large consensus across the board.

Resuming his fortnightly press briefings after a lapse of over eight weeks, Dr Luncheon said that despite the reservations which had been expressed by various groups and dire predictions if the report was not completed on time, the "activity was completed in truly inimitable Guyanese styling." Dr Luncheon said that he suspected that the Cabinet would expect the same ardour to be applied to completing the post-report activities.

He also observed that he did not feel that the Cabinet should take an exclusive position on the recommendations, explaining that reaching such positions should be the task of the political parties and special interest groups.

Hoyte, who spoke with Stabroek News on Thursday, said that the way that the CRC organised its work was admirable. "I think that in the chairman [Ralph Ramkarran], we had a conscientious person who was bent on meeting that deadline. He and the secretary [Haslyn Parris] did a very commendable job, and I think that by and large they have now created the conditions in which we can move forward to have a Constitution. It's not going to satisfy everybody, but it can have a large consensus across the board."

Hoyte dismissed criticisms that the CRC, in the interest of meeting its deadline, had sacrificed the quality of its work. "I don't think that prolonging a matter will inevitably lead to higher quality of work. As a matter of fact, very often under intense pressure you do much better work than if you have a lot of time to dawdle. So I don't buy that criticism."

Hoyte said that he thought that the people of this country wanted to see something happen. He said that "they would have been very disappointed if the deadline had not been met and people had tried to fob them off with some vague story that maybe in another two, three, four, five, six months, you know they probably [would have become] disenchanted."

Asked to comment on the retention of the executive presidency in its present form which allows a person with less than 50 percent of the votes to be elected, Hoyte said that his party's position is that there should be a run-off elections between the two presidential candidates with the most votes where no presidential candidate got a clear majority of the votes.

Commenting on the difficulties that would be faced by a minority president, Hoyte said that such a president would be forced to make compromises. "In other words, he or she would not be in a position to be radical or to do things that are not really acceptable. He or she is forced all the time to talk with other people and arrive at compromises in government."

Referring to the question of power-sharing, Hoyte observed that the commission did not jettison the proposal but had referred it to the National Assembly as one of the options to be explored.

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