Talks underway on Constitution reform process

Stabroek News
April 13, 1998

The representatives of the People's Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/Civic) and the People's National Congress (PNC) have turned their attention to the arrangements for the establishment of the Constitutional Reform Commission..

A PNC official told Stabroek News yesterday that the representatives, Haslyn Parris for the PNC and Michael Shree Chan for the PPP/Civic, have begun preliminary discussions on the issue. The official explained that one of the things being looked at was how the arrangements that were put in place by the last parliament for the Select Committee on Constitutional Reform could be made to accommodate the much wider mandate of the Commission.

Another was the mechanisms that could be used to ensure that the views of that section of the population which was under 35 years of age could be adequately canvassed, the official added.

The issues were among the matters broached when Parris and Trade Minister Shree Chan met last week.

The official said too that arrangements were in place for issues to be raised and discussed in Shree Chan's absence from the country on official business.

The official disclosed too that PNC general secretary, Aubrey Norton and Dr Roger Luncheon also met last week. Among the issues Dr Luncheon and Norton will be engaged in discussing are power-sharing and inclusive governance.

These issues were raised at a previous meeting, according to a letter to the Stabroek News by Norton on April 4, following an editorial which said that no significant progress was being made in the talks.

Norton and Dr Luncheon are charged by their respective parties with conducting the dialogue aimed at creating a conducive environment for the implementation of the measures of the CARICOM-brokered Herdmanston Accord.

The official said that a joint statement on the status of their discussions will be made shortly.

Both sides have expressed varying degrees of frustration with the pace of the talks and have been looking at ways of making them more fruitful. They have both put forward detailed agendas of issues to be discussed and have decided the order in which the issues on their respective agendas will be considered.