Consensus on crime paper likely

Guyana Chronicle
November 12, 2002

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It seems likely that consensual agreement would be reached on a document on the crime situation initiated by the Social Partners which was arrived at through discussions among Parliamentary political parties.

The Chronicle understands that the parties have responded favourably to the document and most likely would give their assent to it.

Chairman of the Private sector Commission, Dr.Peter DeGroot who is also Chairman of the Social Partners, told the Chronicle that while consensus "is not quite there" he is optimistic that a consensus will be arrived at.

He said by today he would be in a position to know the definitive position of the various parties and that provided there are no hitches, the document will be assented to by the parties this Friday.

Following this, Dr. DeGroote said, the process will enter a next phase whereby another document will be presented on the way forward through joint political consultation.

PRESIDENT Bharrat Jagdeo last month had met representatives of the 'Social Partners' group, who were accompanied to the meeting at the Presidential Secretariat by former Heads of the Joint Services.

They had "fruitful discussions" on a paper submitted by the Social Partners which reportedly contains "a number of suggestions and perspectives" aimed at tackling the crime situation which has gripped the country, an official said.

Among those at the meeting between the President and the group were former Police Commissioner, Mr. Laurie Lewis and two former Chiefs of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Major General (rtd.) Joe Singh and Major General (rtd.) Norman McLean.

The Social Partners grouping - comprising the Private Sector Commission (PSC), the Guyana Bar Association (GBA) and the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) - had consulted Singh, McLean and Lewis on the crime paper which was presented to President Jagdeo and which was the centre of discussions at yesterday's meeting, a top Government official said.

Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon said Cabinet had reviewed the crime situation and in that context, "reviewed the paper presented by the Social Partners on the current security environment".

Luncheon indicated that in that paper, the Social Partners are seeking an engagement with the Government, parliamentary political parties and the civil society organisations on a mass-based, comprehensive response to the current crime wave.

"The Executive has reviewed over time, the impact of the crime wave and the consequences that they have had on Guyanese at the level of individuals, at the level of families, at the level of communities and here also we're looking at sectoral interest because there have also been differential impacts," Dr. Luncheon said.

He added that "arising from our analysis over time, the administration is certainly aware of first and foremost, the insecurity, and then increasingly so, the outrage and the burgeoning hostility that is being developed against the perpetrators and those who are involved and provide support for criminals and their activities."

"We see the intervention by the business community and those who have allied themselves with the business community in genuine ways as a response to their fears, their anxieties, their concerns - and to be saying that they recognise that there is a political contribution of no mean order to what is befalling us here in Guyana.

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