Private sector presses Hoyte to hold talks with President

Stabroek News
November 11, 1999

Members of private sector organisations pressed People's National Congress (PNC) leader, Desmond Hoyte, to meet with President Bharrat Jagdeo, at a forum he held with them on Tuesday at the Park Hotel.

Well-placed sources say private sector representatives left disappointed at the PNC's insistence that it needed to know in what capacity President Jagdeo would be sitting down to talk with Hoyte. At a meeting which Hoyte called to hear the concerns of the private sector in anticipation of a meeting with Mr Jagdeo, sources close to the meeting told Stabroek News that the businessmen urged that the meeting be convened as a boost to public confidence and morale. They told Hoyte that he had the stature of a statesman and should use his considerable experience to the advantage of the nation.

The sources said that the businessmen impressed on the PNC leader the need for the meeting with President Jagdeo even without agreement on an agenda.

They said that the businessmen argued that the absence of an agenda would facilitate wide-ranging discussions on issues around which there is national consensus as well as considerably lessen the possibility of the talks breaking down.

The meeting with the private sector organisations was the second in a series of consultations with civil society on which the PNC has embarked to ascertain the concerns of the members of the various civic organisations ahead of a Jagdeo/Hoyte meeting. The organisations which responded to the PNC's invitation included the Private Sector Commission, the Aircraft Owners Association of Guyana, the Berbice Chamber of Commerce and Development Association, the Guyana Manufacturers' Association, the Forest Products Association, the Association of Non-Traditional Exporters of Guyana, the Linden Chamber of Commerce, and the Guyana Rice Millers and Exporters Development Association.

The first meeting was held with a delegation from the Trades Union Congress at the PNC's Congress Place headquarters.

President Jagdeo has publicly committed himself to the meeting without any preconditions, explaining that being neither the leader of the PPP/Civic nor its representative under the CARICOM-brokered Herdmanston Accord, that the meeting should not be confined within the accord framework.

Hoyte has expressed a willingness to meet with Mr Jagdeo but wanted to ascertain in what capacity the President would be meeting with him and suggested a number of things that he could do as a demonstration of good faith. These acts of good faith include condemning the tactics used to evict squatters from land owned by GUYSUCO, issuing the 1996 Mon Repos sea defence breach report and providing for more equitable political representation in the composition of the land selection committees.

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