Agreement on race relations possible by year end - King
November 16, 1999
CARICOM facilitator, Maurice King, believes that with the cooperation of the parties to the Herdmanston Accord dialogue process there could be agreement on proposals for dealing with ethnic relations before the end of the year.
King's engagement in the process will come up for review at the end of the year, according to a decision taken by the CARICOM Heads at their special meeting last month in Trinidad and Tobago.
Lance Carberry, who leads the PNC's delegation to the talks, believes that once the PPP/Civic is prepared to use the dialogue as a forum for resolving difficult political differences between the two parties, then progress on a number of other issues could be made. He says that the basis for movement on these issues is the report of the Constitution Reform Commission (CRC) and that of the Special Select Committee of parliament.
King told Stabroek News yesterday that when the two sides meet today, he expected that they will have concrete proposals to address the issue. Their meeting on Friday was rescheduled to allow both parties to develop these proposals.
King explained that when the two sides met last week to resume their consideration of the PPP/Civic proposal for a race relations commission, it was agreed that it would be looked at in the wider context of ethnic relations as it is dealt with in the reports of the CRC and the Special Select Committee of the National Assembly.
He said that at the last meeting, most of the documentation which was being sought had been produced by the PPP/Civic.
Carberry believes that if the CRC report is used as a starting point, and should the PPP/Civic exhibit the political will, there could be significant movement on victimisation and discrimination, land distribution and house lot allocation and the electoral system before the end of the year.
In the 14 months since the dialogue has been in progress there has been little to show for the time and effort invested in it. The talks have broken down twice.
Also, there have been changes in the composition of both teams with the result being a lack of continuity and a disruption of the development of familiarity between them. (Patrick Denny)
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