Talks between Jagdeo and Hoyte

By Miranda La Rose
Stabroek News
November 1, 1999

President Bharrat Jagdeo has indicated his willingness to meet PNC leader Desmond Hoyte unconditionally. Hoyte has said that he had not set conditions for talks with Jagdeo but would like a mutually agreed agenda. This week we asked the man/woman-in-the-street whether they felt conditions should be attached to the two leaders' discussions and what they felt should be their agenda priorities. Their views follow:

Harrinarine - teacher: "I have been following the news and I find it difficult to understand what is meant by conditional and unconditional. There should be some reason for meeting. Mr Jagdeo and Mr Hoyte should first meet for reconciliation, that is reconciliation of the nation. The two should settle their differences for the sake of the Guyanese people. They should not be meeting to benefit their political parties at this time because the damage is already done. They should be meeting to benefit the nation. Too long many of us, supporters of both parties included, have been suffering for fear of the two parties clashing with each other either verbally or physically. If we are shadowed by this political fear we will not enter the new millennium peacefully. What we need in Guyana is to see development and that could only be achieved from a good political atmosphere. The meeting of minds is very important. The sooner they meet the better. People will be relieved. We want togetherness and unity and that must come from the top."

Edmund Holloway - self-employed: "The one condition under which the two national leaders should meet must be in the interest of Guyanese. Apart from that there should be no other condition. We have wasted a lot of years lately because of political differences. The question of the previous president not being Guyanese and old is now out of the way. Now we have a young, seemingly energetic Guyanese as president and it is in the interest of the nation that the two should meet. One of the priorities on their agenda should be unemployment facing young people in particular. They should both explore the possibilities of the Guyana National Service and how it would be able to absorb young people in developing themselves and the country in general. The country right now has more sellers than buyers."

Seeram Ramsundar - self-employed: "The people did not put Jagdeo there, it was the government who put him there. He was placed there because the country really has no leader who is really in command of the situation... The main problem with the country is accountability. Mr Hoyte as leader of the PNC and Mr Jagdeo as President should get together and deal with the issue head on. Leaders in every sphere, including religious leaders are robbing innocent people of their hard-earned wages in the name of religion. Because there is no cooperation between the government and the opposition, exploitation is rampant and bribery and corruption, chronic diseases. If there must be any condition to talks between the two leaders, which are urgently needed, that condition should be no back-biting between the main leaders of the political parties. If they want to be leaders they need to set the example."

Joseph `Marco' De Souza - member of parliament: "While I feel that no condition should be attached to the meeting between Mr Hoyte and President Jagdeo I feel that a mutual agenda should be agreed on. The two leaders need to talk urgently to bring back political and economic stability to the country as well as to bridge the racial divide which could pull the country further down. The political instability has affected investment a great deal and this has subsequently affected employment. If Mr Hoyte is interested in the way forward for young people and the nation as a whole he will meet as soon as possible with Mr Jagdeo. Both leaders should meet in the context of their being national leaders and not as leaders of political parties. There is a lot at stake and with elections just about a year away the occasion should not be seen as one scoring political mileage but as one to heal the wounds of the nation."

Charles Wilkinson - private sector employee: "Regardless of what happened at elections time let us forget it and move on. Let the court deal with the elections petition. Let us not put life on hold because of that. Mr Hoyte and Mr Jagdeo owe it to this nation as representatives of the country's two major political parties to build and not to destroy. Guyana is for Guyanese. Fresh elections are due within the new year. Because of bad politics and poor governance the country came to virtual standstill. We are now limping along with children to care for and no money around. Right now anything to move the country forward would be welcome including talks between the two leaders in whatever capacity they find themselves in. If both should accept each other for what they are right now this country will move forward. As far as I am concerned they should have met since yesterday."

Jermaine Jordon - public sector employee: "The two leaders need to meet as soon as possible and the sooner Mr Hoyte does so the better it will be for Guyanese of all walks of life, but more so young people. The two need to put their brains together and work out strategies to bring this country to a stage where young people, university graduates in particular, will want to stay and work and develop Guyana. Right now neither Mr Hoyte nor Mr Jagdeo should be thinking about his or her party as a priority. They should have an agenda which addresses the ailments that are affecting the country's progress."

Jean Basdeo - overseas-based Guyanese: "We want peace, we want togetherness and I believe that President Jagdeo and Mr Hoyte together can do it. There should be no prejudice this time around because both Mr Hoyte and Mr Jagdeo will meet as equals in the eyes of Guyanese because they are both Guyanese. Many people did not accept the former president, Mrs [Janet] Jagan because she was not a born Guyanese but the situation is different now. These two leaders can make this last Christmas for the century and the new millennium one of the happiest for Guyanese. A lot now depends on Mr Hoyte. I am looking forward to him meeting Mr Jagdeo under conditions favourable to them both. I think Guyanese the world over will applaud their meeting."

Shondelle Allick - accounts clerk: "The two have a lot to discuss in the interest of all Guyanese. They owe it to Guyana to unite in the face of all that is happening and more so in view of Venezuela's claim to Essequibo. Mr Jagdeo and his government could use the knowledge and experience of Mr Hoyte's party in dealing with the issue. I think they should meet urgently because the threat is real and not imagined. It must not be wished away and ignored. I think if the two talk in public it will ease some of the tension which is still hanging over us from the last elections. Mr Hoyte should get discussions going with Mr Jagdeo. I think he is young brilliant and should push for young people. What this country needs is for the two of them to get together on a one-to-one basis and look at the problems which confront us head on. They should not be talking of their party as 'my people' and 'your people' which is bringing us more segregation."

Reanna Persaud - UG student: "The two need to talk urgently because the government alone cannot move this country forward. A major priority on their agenda should be job creation for young people. Too many graduates are leaving the University of Guyana and cannot find jobs. Many have degrees and diplomas and are running out of job opportunities. They are underpaid especially in the public service, hence the brain drain."

Farrah Yassim - UG student: "The creation of a stable political climate which will enhance job creation should be a priority for Mr Hoyte and President Jagdeo. Their first act, however, should be dialogue aimed at restoring some confidence in the political process. Mr Jagdeo is young and should understand the needs of young people wanting to make it in life. University graduates need jobs in Guyana and want to help in developing the country. It takes much sacrifice and resources to get a degree or diploma in Guyana. When you graduate it does not compensate working for meagre salaries and barely eking out an existence."

A © page from:
Guyana: Land of Six Peoples