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He told his regular post-Cabinet briefing Tuesday the decision was taken that since there seems to be a long journey ahead in evolving an acceptable system of governance in Guyana, "we should start with the first step, that is fulfilling the promises of the recently concluded Constitutional Reform Process."
He, however, said that the rapidity with which that could be accomplished has to do with the success of the current wave of civil society/body politic initiatives.
"It has to do with the nature of the successes. In essence, if in our discourses it is felt, strongly felt, that these first steps are the ones that should be addressed, and must be addressed, then I would want to believe that, with all of the goodwill that is flowing from the political bodies, (from the body politic) that nothing should stand in our way to deny Guyanese the benefits of these interventions and from implementing these constitutional provisions."
"But I have said, they support the body politic - that has been given verbal support, and we are learning more and more that one has to put one's words into action."
In so far as the emergence or re-emergence of civil society in involvement in the affairs of state is concerned, Luncheon said that if "they continue to be encouraged, and obtain good results", then he believes that these changes would soon be made available to the Guyanese people.
He said the Constitutional Reform Process was predicated on two grounds:
** that dealing with the authority, immunity and the influence of the executive, and the strong call for it to be reduced (supported by the PPP/C), so as to bring about a greater check and balance between the Legislative and the Judiciary, and
** that dealing with inclusivity.
Some of the recommendations of the Constitutional Reform Process, he said, had to do with reducing the influence of the President; the immunity of the President or the influence of the executives.
"This one here dealt with enhancing inclusivity," he said, adding that it would be unfortunate that, since the conclusion of the Constitutional Reform Process, the society has not enjoyed the benefit of implementation of those constitutional provisions.
Luncheon said that essentially, what the PPP/Civic administration is calling for is "diligent action" and "greater effort" to be made by those parties that in one way or the other have contributed to the denial of these benefits, and to have them put in place as soon as possible.
"To wit, let's have the Constitutional Commission put in place; the Fundamental Rights, Human Rights, Constitutional Commission on Procurement; Women and Gender, Equity; Indigenous People; Ethnic Relations."
Noting that these are all very important bodies, he said that thousands of Guyanese contributed to that selection and the decision to elevate them to that level of importance, adding, "Not statutory bodies, but constitutional bodies with mandate, with authority and power...they can requisition; they can insist; they can examine..."
Luncheon expressed the view that if one were to just ignore the non-implementation and go sourcing additional or different measures for inclusivity, it will be essentially throwing overboard the efforts of all of those hundreds of thousands of people and organisations that contributed and made their input felt when addressing those issues.
He noted that President Bharrat Jagdeo, in his inauguration address, made the clear commitment that "the PPP/C administration will continue to be committed to the widest ranges of discourse and consultations in finding specific ways to deal with specific situations."
He said the President repeated this commitment recently when a summary position had to be provided on the way forward for the domestic difficulties Guyana faces.
"And I don't believe that such an approach and that sentiment would be abandoned", he said.
In fact, he said, the President had recommitted the PPP/Civic to a course along such lines.
Luncheon observed that since the pause by the PNC/R in the dialogue, and since the recent crime wave, other groups such as private sector, trade union and religious bodies, and other non-governmental organisations, have expressed the need to be more involved in the affairs of state.
The main social partners, he said, have all stood up and been identified.
He noted that a basic thrust of these bodies is their call for a resumption of the dialogue with wider participation and a more enlightened management, and they have highlighted Article 13 of the Constitution as the basis for the re-emergence.
Luncheon said that the recent speech by Mr. Desmond Hoyte (recently returned as the leader of the PNC/R) also provided some support for the civil society Initiative, as he declared for newer initiatives in governance.
As far as the body politic is concerned, he said, the PPP/Civic Administration has maintained the same basic position:
** Implementing the Constitutional provision and the Fundamental Rights Commission
** Appointing the Service Commission
** Appointing the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee.
Meanwhile, elaborating on the question of "inclusive governance", Luncheon stated that the Constitutional Reform Process in its every detail mandates inclusive governance.
According to him, the shortfall in its implementation has been failure on the part of the relevant groups to put into operation, mechanisms to make these benefits apply to one's everyday life.
Other reasons for the shortfall, he said, are lack of diligent efforts to realise possible benefits, and the need for greater action on the part of the initiators of the new Constitution.
The Constitution which was promulgated in 1980, was reformed in 2000.
The amendments to the Constitution were done during countrywide consultations with possible beneficiaries. On each occasion, there were strong voices from the populace which were duly considered for the present Constitution, Luncheon said.