No alternative to political consensus
-human rights body
Stabroek News
July 27, 2002

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The Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) says that the conclusion is irresistible that a formal political consensus between the two major parties for governing the country on an interim basis is the only foundation for stability and security to be re-established.

The GHRA said in a press release yesterday that a wide-ranging political consensus to address the current national crisis is indispensable.

According to the human rights body, the “form this consensus should take and the actors who should be involved in a broad-based government flowing from it must be the priority focus of both civil and political society.”

While international assistance should be sought to facilitate or even mediate acceptance of such a proposal, the GHRA suggested, the essence of the proposal should be developed nationally and quickly.

The human rights body is also calling for a wide range of confidence-building and trust-generating measures to overcome the resistance on all sides such a proposition is likely to generate.

“It is now eminently clear,” the GHRA contended, “that the winner-take-all system in Guyana cannot protect rights, provide security for citizens, nor promote democracy.”

And unless immediate recognition is given to this diagnosis, the country is destined for further, possibly uncontrollable, violence, the human rights body warned.

It is urging too that the government and the major opposition PNC/R demonstrate the courage and statesmanship to set aside historical grievances, recognise shared victimhood, and provide leadership for decisive measures to promote national unity.

The GHRA said that other parliamentary parties and civic society organisations must demonstrate an equal capacity for rising above racial inclinations within their own traditions and work impartially for the successful implementation of a national consensus.

Further, the GHRA stated, the “media must desist from the widespread practice of pandering to racial inclination and deliberate distortions of the truth.”

The human rights body stated that widespead criminal violence, continuing political disruptions and the near confrontation between a large, armed gang and the PPP Congress in Berbice last weekend would have removed “any lingering illusions that the government alone can bring the crime situation under control and restore racial security.”