President welcomes initiative of civil society
--But brokers must not come with biases, or political baggage Editorial
Guyana Chronicle
August 26, 2002

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PRESIDENT Bharrat Jagdeo has welcomed the initiative by representatives of civil society to broker a deal out of the impasse that has resulted in a suspension of the political dialogue between himself and Leader of the of the Opposition Mr. Desmond Hoyte.

Mr Hoyte had unilaterally put a "pause" on the dialogue citing non-implementation by the Government of measures agreed upon during the meetings.

Speaking last week at a press conference upon his return from the CARICOM meeting in St. Lucia, which meeting discussed the state of the economies in the Region, President Jagdeo said he had met with representatives of civil society, and he expressed reservations about the composition of the civil society group.

President said it was made emphatically clear at the meeting that the brokers must be acceptable to all and must not have any biases.

"We hope that the honest brokers from civil society will be acceptable to all parties. They must not come with political baggage, that is, with biased positions," he explained.

Mr Jagdeo added, "the civil society group should be extended" to ensure that it is truly representative of this country, and he expressed disappointment that representatives of the Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities were "unceremoniously excluded".

However, the President reiterated the Government's intention of participating in efforts by civil society to re-start the dialogue, provided the concerns he has raised are resolved.

President Jagdeo also urged that the process of implementing constitutional reforms, already agreed upon, be accelerated, including measures that are directed towards dealing with problems relating to discrimination, corruption and human rights.

He noted that the setting up of the commissions have been stalled because of the boycott of the National Assembly by the People's National Congress/Reform (PNC/R).

The Guyanese leader pointed out that the establishment of the commissions requires a two-thirds support of the National Assembly and the Government does not have that majority in the house.