PNC/R says open to citizens proposals
Stabroek News
July 19, 2002

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The opposition PNC/R says it is open to proposals from civil society to take Guyana forward but stands firm in its resolve not to restart the dialogue with President Bharrat Jagdeo unless the decisions already arrived at are implemented.

People's National Congress REFORM (PNC/R) central executive committee member, Deryck Bernard, said yesterday that the party had taken note of the initiatives and discussions taking place in civil society and in various organisations about developments in Guyana and the social and political situation.

He said the party welcomed the interest shown and the demonstration of patriotism. "We stand ready to discuss and study very carefully any serious proposals which are made. The party wishes to reiterate our position that we are open to meaningful discussions and negotiations which can lead to real change," he told reporters at the weekly press conference hosted by the PNC/R.

Bernard said the party noted that a group of citizens had chosen the principle outlined in Article 13 of the Constitution which is for the political system to provide increased opportunity for the participation of citizens in the management and decision-making processes of the state.

"If this principle is taken seriously and implemented with vigour, imagination and seriousness, it is an appropriate starting point from which to begin work on these matters," he said.

Bernard noted there have been calls made and advice offered to the PNC/R recently which have urged the resumption of the dialogue process with President Jagdeo.

He stated the sentiments came from many sources, some well-meaning while others were "insincere" and "mischievous."

He said the party took note of the full-page advertisement in the Stabroek News of July 14, which said that the dialogue process was succeeding. "It is perhaps appropriate that the originators of that advertisement have chosen to remain anonymous. Their cowardice is justified since that statement is a tissue of half-truths and outright lies," he said.

Bernard stressed that the PNC/R's position was clear: dialogue would not be resumed until the decisions already taken are implemented.

He said further dialogue would be useless as long as there was no progress on the liberalisation of the state media, the resuscitation of the bauxite industry, the depoliticisation of the public service, the implementation of a meaningful parliament, and the depoliticisation of the distribution of house lots. He said this position was endorsed by a general members meeting held last Sunday.

Bernard said while the PNC/R took seriously the concerns expressed by a large cross-section of the society for a resumption of the process, it was urging interested parties to examine the substantive issues of concern and for there to be an implementation of decisions.