Citizens group to meet today on way forward
July 15, 2002
The group of persons aiming to expand the participation of citizens in the governance of the country and to push for reconciliation and reformation is to meet today to decide on the next course of action.
In an advertisement in yesterday's Sunday Stabroek, the group cited Article 13 of the Constitution which caters for an inclusive democracy by providing increasing opportunities for the participation of citizens in the decision-making processes of the state.
The group welcomed recent pronouncements by senior members of the two main political parties where they endorsed the principle of shared governance. "We believe that this is an historic acknowledgement and signals that our political leaders recognise this path must be taken if our dear land is not only to survive but to realise its potential", the ad said. The group challenged political leaders and members of the parliamentary parties "to commit themselves to the search for consensus on the tasks necessary to transform the principle of shared governance into practical and concrete outcomes".
One of the signatories to the ad, Vanda Radzik yesterday told Stabroek News that the meeting today will work on the "continuum - where we go from here" and to put ideas on the table. The group will also consider reactions coming in following the publishing of the ad. Radzik said there has been a positive response and others want to have their names appended to the list of citizens.
Where persons have signed on behalf of organisations their members will be contacted on an individual basis on the initiative. It is anticipated that the chambers of commerce in various parts of the country would also be brought on board. Radzik said that the citizens statement reflect the "stirrings of what we hope is the beginning of a national movement" and something that will approximate to the "finest hour of Guyana".
The group has its origins in a workshop hosted by the Carter Center which looked at conflict resolution and was attended by representatives of a wide cross-section of civil society organisations. This was followed by a meeting last Friday at Hotel Tower by representatives of a number of social organisations and individuals who share the view that the political parties should no longer be allowed to dominate the decision-making process.
Those who signed the statement were Peter de Groot, Chairman, Private Sector Commission; Lincoln Lewis, general secretary, Guyana Trades Union Congress; Fazeel Ferouz, President of the Central Islamic Organisation of Guyana; Bishop Juan Edghill, Chairman of the Guyana Council of Churches; Nigel Hughes, President, Guyana Bar Association; Khemraj Ramjattan, Vice-President, Guyana Bar Association; Violet Jean-Baptiste, African Cultural Development Association; Ryhaan Shah, Guyana Indian Heritage Association; Beni Sankar, Director, Guyana Rice Millers & Exporters Development Association; Chris Fernandes, President, Guyana Shipping Association; Vanda Radzik, Red Thread Women's Development Programme; Mike James, Second Vice-Chairman, Guyana Council of Churches; David Yhann, Chairman, NGO Forum; Vic Puran, attorney-at-law; Hamley Case, businessman; Leslie Melville, trade unionist; Clayton Hall, environmentalist; Bhiro Harry, psychiatrist; Mohammed (Tallim) Karimullah, accountant; Stanley Ming, businessman; Mohabir Anil Nandlall, attorney-at-law; Salahudeen Nausrudeen, businessman; Baldeo Chaitram, businessman; Ravi Dev, ROAR MP and Shirley Melville GAP/WPA MP. Melville was inadvertently left off of the list by Stabroek News.