PNC has agenda for Parliament
- Hoyte

Stabroek News
July 7, 1998

People's National Congress (PNC) Leader Desmond Hoyte says his party is not without many friends in the Caribbean.

The PNC leader was at the time speaking to a crowd of several thousand gathered at the Square of the Revolution Sunday night for what was billed as an Interdenominational Service sponsored by his party and "some Church Groups".

Hoyte, who arrived some time after Pastor Jean Roberts of the Faith Ministries and other church leaders had the crowd stamping its feet, waving, shouting praises and dancing to gospel music, said they could be assured that the PNC has friends in the region.

"I want to tell you that despite the heavy, heavy propaganda they (the People's Progressive Party (PPP)) have been spreading all over the Caribbean.....we still have many friends who understand and sympathise with us", Hoyte told the cheering crowd.

The PNC leader returned to Guyana last Friday from St Lucia following a trip there at the invitation of CARICOM Heads attending the CARICOM Summit to brief them on the PNC position as it relates to the situation in Guyana.

Hoyte's team included PNC General Secretary, Aubrey Norton and executive member Edmund Khanoo.

That trip resulted in Hoyte and President Janet Jagan signing the St Lucia Agreement aimed at bringing some normalcy to the current unstable political situation in Guyana.

Hoyte said CARICOM Heads mandated Prime Minister of St Vincent and The Grenadines, Sir James Mitchell to talk with him and at a subsequent meeting with all the heads - at which President Jagan was also in attendance - he articulated the PNC position.

"I did not pull any punches, I told them what the issues the end of this discussion which involved all the Heads of Government of CARICOM, they had a very good idea of what the issues here.

Hoyte accused the PPP/Civic administration of "going all over the world" trying to get the Canadians, Americans, and the British to intervene in this country and that this is one reason why the CARICOM Heads are taking so strong an interest in Guyana.

The PNC leader told the crowd that there was nothing in the agreement which condemned the protesters, the protest or the PNC and that it did not "pronounce on the (CARICOM) Audit (Commission) Report saying that it confirmed anybody's victory".

Hoyte noted that the St Lucia Agreement binds the government to complete constitutional reform by July 15, 1999.

"Let them know that according to the Herdmanston Accord, in that constitution they must address issues such as racial discrimination, victimisation, social justice and things like that", Hoyte reminded.

He added that more than that before any new constitution, there must be measures to deal with these matters.

"That is why we are going into the parliament to make sure that these measures are in place. They can't get out of this because I explained to CARICOM Heads what was happening and the need for us to have equal opportunities to employment, access to education, land, housing, and jobs", Hoyte said.

He assured that those are the things that the PNC will address "almost immediately", in the parliament.

Hoyte said that the PPP/Civic must commit itself to answer all opposition questions and bring up its motions for debate and also to hold sessions on Wednesdays when opposition questions take precedence in parliament.

But Hoyte stressed that his party going into parliament still did not mean that it recognised the Jagan administration.

He told his supporters that there is nothing in the agreement which said they cannot protest. He said that what in effect the CARICOM leaders are saying in the agreement is that as the government puts in place the mechanisms to get the dialogue back on track to redress greviences and for parliament to function effectively, the desire for protest would abate.

"So we have to keep an eye on them to see whether or not they are going to do what they have to do, what they have committed themselves to do and if they don't do it we would have a right to protest", Hoyte told the crowd.