PPP, PNC agree on dialogue subjects
- Luncheon dropped from team

Stabroek News
August 11, 1999

The PPP/Civic and the PNC have agreed on a modified agenda for political dialogue and the ruling party has dropped Dr Roger Luncheon as head of its team.

The new team is led by People's Progressive Party (PPP) General Secretary, Donald Ramotar, and the other members are Dr Frank Anthony and Parliamentary Secretary, Philomena Sahoye-Shury. Dr Anthony and Sahoye-Shury replace Dr Luncheon and Youth, Sports and Culture Minister, Gail Teixeira. The People's National Congress (PNC) team of Lance Carberry and attorneys at law, Raphael Trotman and Lloyd Joseph, remains the same.

According to Carberry, when the two sides met on Monday at a meeting chaired by CARICOM Facilitator, former Barbados Attorney General, Maurice King QC, at Le Meridien Pegasus Hotel, they reached agreement on a modified agenda for the continued dialogue. They also reached agreement on the principles which would expedite their discussions.

Carberry, who was present at a press conference hosted by PNC leader, Desmond Hoyte, yesterday at Congress Place, said that a priority for his party in the dialogue discussions was the issue of land allocation while for the PPP/Civic it was the establishment of the Elections Commission.

He said too that the formal dialogue sessions would now be held twice weekly and where agreement cannot be reached on any issue, this would be made known as quickly as possible.

Carberry also said that it had been agreed that where the Constitution Reform Commission has made recommendations on an issue under discussion in the dialogue, the two parties would seek to ensure that their decisions are in accord with them.

Monday's meeting was the second held in the process since Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, brokered an agreement in May between the two sides to resume the dialogue which broke down in February over remarks which had been made by Dr Luncheon to Carberry about the status of the two sides.

At the first meeting which was held in early June, the two sides agreed "they would exchange Summary Statements on the items they proposed for inclusion in an agreed agenda".

A statement issued after that meeting by the CARICOM facilitator, said that the PPP/Civic had proposed for inclusion in the agenda issues such as Race Relations and legislation to concretise equal opportunities. The National Development Strategy; Taxation Policy; Social Safety Net Creation and Poverty Alleviation were also proposed for inclusion on the agenda. Other issues proposed for inclusion were Public Sector Reform; A National Health and Education Policy; the Elections Commission; and Local Government Elections.

According to that release, "the PNC indicated that they 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, house lots 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.

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