St Lucia PM explores way forward in key meetings

Stabroek News
October 23, 1999

The rate of progress of the various Herdmanston Accord measures was the focus of meetings St Lucia's Prime Minister, Dr Kenny Anthony, held yesterday with the parties to the CARICOM-brokered accord and the St Lucia Statement.

It also figured in the discussions with the private sector delegation which was led by George Jardim, chairman of the Private Sector Commission.

Dr Anthony has been assigned the responsibility by the CARICOM Heads for political developments since the agreements were concluded in January and July last year respectively.

Dr Anthony, who arrived here on Thursday, is to deliver a report to the CARICOM Heads of Government when they meet in a special session next week in Chaguaramas, Trinidad and Tobago.

In discussions with President Bharrat Jagdeo and representatives of the PPP/Civic and PNC leader, Desmond Hoyte SC, and representatives of his party, the rate of the dialogue occupied a not insignificant part of the discussions, Stabroek News has learnt. It has learnt too, that Dr Anthony was exposed to the differing perceptions of the two parties of the rate of progress being made.

Another issue which was raised and discussed with both parties is the meeting between President Jagdeo and Hoyte. Stabroek News understands that President Jagdeo reiterated his willingness to meet Hoyte without any preconditions and that Hoyte also expressed his willingness.

This newspaper has learnt that Hoyte has responded to President Jagdeo's invitation to meet, and like the President he also has not made the contents of his response public. Dr Anthony is aware of the contents of both letters.

However, the PNC did express concern that there was no one person to whom they could refer in the PPP/Civic as having responsibility for ensuring the implementation of the Accord measures.

Another issue raised was the Herdmanston Accord timetable for general elections. While both sides more or less expressed general satisfaction with the pace of constitutional reform, the PNC voiced concern that the electoral system to be used had not been agreed as yet.

Jardim told Stabroek News that the political dialogue was also the talking point in the meeting with the representatives of the private sector. He said that his delegation was concerned about finding a way forward which it was sure both sides were committed to doing.

Dr Anthony was also to meet representatives of The United Force (TUF) and the Alliance for Guyana yesterday. Before the meeting, TUF leader, Manzoor Nadir told Stabroek News that he was not interested in the Herdmanston Accord but in talking to Dr Anthony about hassle-free travel and in getting CARICOM to denounce Venezuela's recent actions on the border issue.

The St Lucian premier also met representatives of youth groups, religious bodies and women. His discussions were preceded by extensive discussions with CARICOM Secretariat officials and CARICOM Facilitator, Maurice King, QC, a former attorney general of Barbados.

Dr Anthony was accompanied at the various meetings he held yesterday by his Cabinet Secretary, Anthony Severin and King.

Today before wrapping up his stay here he will meet representatives of the other six parties who contested the general elections and the trade union movement. He will also host a press conference at the CARICOM Secretariat, the venue of his meetings except those with the PPP/Civic held at the Presidential Secretariat and the PNC at Congress Place.

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