Jagan, Hoyte forum closer
-following TUC meeting

By Patrick Denny
Stabroek News
July 28, 1998

The Guyana Trades Union Congress (TUC) is to use its good offices to set up a meeting between President Janet Jagan and People's National Congress (PNC) leader, Desmond Hoyte SC.

Hoyte told a TUC delegation yesterday of his willingness to meet with President Jagan at the earliest opportunity, at a neutral venue.

He repeated his demand that there be an agreed agenda to be developed out of the talks at the political level between the two parties and a clear understanding of the specific capacities in which he and President Jagan would be at the meeting, sources say.

This was one of the understandings arrived at when a twelve-member TUC delegation, led by its president, Patrick Yarde, and including its general secretary, Joseph Pollydore, met with a PNC delegation, led by its leader, Desmond Hoyte, at Congress Place.

Among other understandings reached, was a commitment by the PNC to adopt a more conciliatory tone in its public pronouncements, despite having to respond to misinformation and disinformation, sources say.

Another, was that its representative at the political dialogue between the two parties, PNC general secretary, Aubrey Norton, would be instructed that the agenda for the Jagan/Hoyte talks should be given priority and that the TUC would seek to ensure that the PPP/Civic was persuaded that its representative, Dr Roger Luncheon should be similarly instructed.

Norton is yet to receive an acknowledgement to his July 10 letter, requesting a resumption of the talks between himself and Dr Luncheon. Stabroek News understands that the letter was sent to Norton's counterpart in the PPP/Civic, Donald Ramotar.

A joint release was to have been issued yesterday by the PNC and TUC on the results of the meeting.

Yesterday's discussion was held at the request of the TUC, made in a letter to Hoyte on June 23. The meeting was set for June 30, but because of Hoyte's departure for St Lucia, could not have been convened. The meeting with Hoyte was preceded by a meeting between the TUC and President Jagan.

In its letter requesting the meeting, the TUC had indicated that its request had been prompted by its concern about the slow pace of the political dialogue; the delay in implementing the steps to set constitutional reform in motion; the atmosphere created by the charges and counter-charges by both parties as to which of the two was responsible for the delays in the implementation of the Herdmanston Accord measures; and the desirability of a meeting between President Jagan and Hoyte.

Though the St Lucia Statement had addressed the concerns which had been raised, the TUC had indicated its desire to still speak with Hoyte.

TUC general secretary, Joseph Pollydore, told Stabroek News yesterday that the TUC was concerned that not enough had been done since the agreement was signed in St Lucia and that it was hoped that yesterday's meeting could be one way of sparking a more urgent approach to the implementation of decisions arrived at by the two leaders. In the St Lucia Statement, the two leaders had given a commitment to meet periodically.

In her first press conference on July 15, President Jagan when asked about a meeting with Hoyte had noted that there were several moves being made to arrange one.

She had said "the more recent one and the one i appreciate the most was the one by the TUC. I thought their offer afforded the best possibility to bring about a meeting". She also noted that perhaps she needed to take up Hoyte's suggestion for an agenda for the meeting and perhaps this could be worked out with the TUC.