Cooperating For Guyana
Guyana Chronicle
December 29, 2002

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TODAY, while the mourning continues for Mr. Desmond Hoyte, a former Executive President and Leader of the People's National Congress/Reform, the hope among all sectors of this society must be for fresh initiatives to ensure peace, stability and progress through dialogue and commitment to Guyana's national interest.

Governing of any democratic state is not a challenge only for the government of the day, although it has a central and defining role to play, based on its mandate from the electorate. It is also a matter for the elected parliamentary opposition and Civil Society. Indeed, all stakeholders of the country.

If previous efforts at forging national development through the consultative or dialogue process have not proven as meaningful as they should have been, there is no good or valid reason why fresh attempts should not now be pursued, and soon.

A poor country like ours, plagued with natural and man-made problems for far too long, needs to benefit from the lessons of its past and those of neighbouring states as it reflects on the future, having laid to rest three Executive Presidents within 17 years.

Jamaica, a CARICOM sister state deeply wounded by the vicious murders and criminal violence, saddled with an enormous debt burden and depressing levels of unemployment and poverty among its estimated 2.2 million, is struggling even now to show an alternative way to govern in peace.

The Prime Minister and Opposition Leader of that country have taken seriously the option of consultation to that of political confrontation, and are giving their joint accord of last month - November 1 - a chance to bear fruit with the functioning of bi-partisan committees comprising Cabinet ministers and party stalwarts.

Not recrimination
Guyana can do the same, as President Bharrat Jagdeo and the PPP/Civic Administration have been attempting to demonstrate, if not at all times with the vigour and foresight required.

Now is not the time for recrimination or blame shifting about who have been holding this country to virtual ransom. The capacity of the Guyanese people to make their own assessments should not be underestimated.

The reality is that serious, genuine cooperation between the Government and the Opposition with the active involvement of Civil Society remains a prerequisite for social harmony and economic advancement.

Let it even be conceded that errors may have been made on all sides, at varying periods, within recent years. Now, however, is the challenge to undo such errors and move ahead - for the sake of the Guyanese people, across ethnic and political frontiers.

In the circumstances, an end to the boycott of Parliament that the PNC/R instituted some months ago, would be a welcome initiative for the way forward. Signing of the draft Anti-crime Communiqué, as proposed by the team of social partners representatives, could only strengthen the mood for bi-partisan cooperation, though they do not necessarily have to be in that order.

Once a new Leader of the Opposition is in place, we look forward to President Jagdeo losing no time in exercising the initiative for a meeting with him and for them to set the tone for another high-level dialogue process for the benefit of Guyana.

*Happy New Year and best of wishes to all stakeholders representatives and to our dear family of readers!

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