Jagdeo willing to discuss issues in Hoyte's letter

Stabroek News
October 30, 1999

President Bharrat Jagdeo is willing to discuss with PNC leader, Desmond Hoyte, the issues he raised in his letter dated October 14, but not as pre-conditions for a meeting.

He told a press conference yesterday at the Office of the President that he also wanted to meet Hoyte to discuss matters outside the context of the Herdmanston Accord, but about which the ordinary citizens are concerned.

President Jagdeo explained that when the CARICOM Heads said he and Hoyte should meet without conditions, they meant that the meeting should take place without any posturing by the various organisations or any conditionalities or conditions being set.

Referring to Hoyte's October 14, letter, Jagdeo said that even if action were to be taken on the issues listed by Hoyte, these were only conditions to allow them to explore the possibilities for talks.

Referring to composition of the land selection committees, one of the issues which had been raised in Hoyte's letter. President Jagdeo reiterated the PPP/Civic's position that it would not give up control of the land selection committees.

He said that it was fearful that the PNC would behave as it had done before, explaining that the land selection committees in the PNC-controlled regions could be inactive while those in the other regions pursued an aggressive programme of land selection. This, he said, would result in the PNC claiming discrimination.

President Jagdeo said that if the PNC was concerned about the irregularities in the process, its members should participate in the work of these committees so that they could be in a position to identify any acts of irregularity or discrimination.

Hoyte, in his letter, asked for consideration of "the immediate reconstitution of the land selection committees to reflect a more equitable political balance, thereby minimising unfairness, perceived or actual, in the distribution of land and assuaging deeply felt anger and resentment that now exist in many communities."

Commenting on his responsibilities under the CARICOM-brokered Herdmanston Accord, President Jagdeo said that he had personal responsibility for the holding of general elections by January 2001 and for the constitution reform process. But he stressed that while he was committed to doing everything possible to ensure these were completed in a timely manner, there were responsibilities which the other parties had to discharge and he trusted that they would demonstrate that commitment with appropriate action.

As to the involvement of civil society, President Jagdeo remarked that the PPP/Civic always supported the involvement of civil society in helping to resolve difficulties. However, he could not say what should be the role and extent of their involvement in any particular issue.

St Lucia Prime Minister, Dr Kenny Anthony, who visited Guyana recently told reporters that civil society should be more involved in helping Guyana to return to political stability and that the appropriate arrangements would have to be worked out to allow it to do so.

He cited the role civil society had played in bringing an end to the 55-day strike by public servants and in facilitating the privatisation of the Guyana Electricity Corporation.

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Guyana: Land of Six Peoples