President Jagan has high hopes for St Lucia pact

Stabroek News
July 7, 1998

A large crowd of supporters and well-wishers was on hand at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri, shortly after noon on Sunday to welcome President Janet Jagan from the 19th CARICOM Heads of Government summit which ended on Saturday in St Lucia.

Prime Minister Samuel Hinds and his wife Yvonne Hinds led a welcoming party which included Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon, Public Service Minister George Fung-On, Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force Brigadier Joe Singh, Commissioner of Police, Laurie Lewis, PPP General Secretary Donald Ramotar and Ministerial Advisor on Empowerment, Odinga Lumumba.

President Jagan came off the LIAT flight after her first CARICOM Summit, to be received by the smiling crowd of balloon-waving supporters some of whom warmly hugged her.

Speaking briefly to the media before entering her car for the motorcade to Georgetown, President Jagan said she had very high hopes that the St Lucia Agreement signed by herself and People's National Congress (PNC) leader Desmond Hoyte will bring lasting peace.

President Jagan, Hoyte, and CARICOM Chairman, St Lucia's Prime Minister, Dr Kenny Anthony signed the Agreement at the Halcyon Sandals resort aimed at ending the recent spate of protests that have affected the country and at accelerating dialogue and constitutional reform.

Mrs Jagan indicated that she was especially pleased that the agreement has resulted in the PNC's pledge to enter parliament by July 15 as long as government amends the Representation of the People Act which would allow the party to extract the twenty-five names it had originally designated to sit in parliament.

Noting that this was a "step in the right direction", the President said that she thought things would be better now with the PNC in parliament since the party would be better able to meaningfully fight for the rights of its members in that forum.

Touching briefly on the CARICOM Summit, President Jagan said she thought that the regional integration process was significantly advanced at the St Lucia meeting of the 15-member CARICOM grouping.

She noted that issues such as the free movement of skills, the establishment of the Caribbean Court of Appeal and the progress of the Single Market and Economy were at centre stage during the conference and felt that significant progress was made in all these areas.