Social Partners continue consultations
Dev says meeting positive
Stabroek News
July 31, 2002

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The Social Partners delegation yesterday met representatives of the ROAR party as it continues its round of meetings with the parliamentary political groups.

The delegation continued to decline to comment on their meetings but ROAR leader, Ravi Dev, described the meeting as very positive. He said that his party made clear to the delegation that it supported the principle of inclusive governance and the necessity of getting all the players to agree on the concept.

Dev said that he felt very strongly that "we must begin with a commitment to inclusive governance" as it goes to the heart of the political disease that afflicts the nation.

Dev also responded to concerns expressed by President Bharrat Jagdeo about the presence of politicians among the citizens who recently launched an initiative for enhanced dialogue between parties and greater involvement by civil society in governance. Dev told Stabroek News that he would withdraw if his presence would in anyway hinder the group's activities. Dev was among the persons who had signed the original advertisement, which the grouping had placed in the newspapers.

The Social Partners group, whose representatives met ROAR has also expressed the view that civil society groupings should exclude politicians and elected officials in terms of the realisation of the Article 13 objective of including civic groups in the decision making process of the society.

Before meeting ROAR, the delegation met President Bharrat Jagdeo on Tuesday of last week, the PNC/R leader, Desmond Hoyte, on Wednesday and the executive of The United Force at Unity House on Thursday. No date has been set for the meeting with the GAP-WPA alliance. However, the WPA has expressed its intention to meet the delegation. GAP leader, Paul Hardy is out of the country.

The meetings with the parliamentary parties focus on a paper on "shared governance" which the Social Partners circulated to the parliamentary political parties in which they propose:

* a widening of the dialogue process to include all the parliamentary parties;

* the establishment of a permanent, consultative mechanism on shared governance;

* the prioritising of the issues to be discussed with the top priority being given to crime prevention, the ending of extra-judicial killings, youth development and the creation of jobs through civil works and other programmes.

The paper also identified a number of weaknesses in the suspended dialogue process. Among these was the attention being given to PNC/R and PPP/C issues, when many of them were national in scope and required consultation with, and involvement of interest groups and people who are outside the two parties.

Another weakness, the group said, was that "the deliberations focused on a set of specific matters without a clearly stated overarching context, and opportunities to apprise the population about the aims of the deliberations were not explored, thereby leaving popular expectations to define themselves."

Other weaknesses were that the "implementation of agreed actions depended on traditional mechanisms in which the agreeing, or affected groups had no representation" and the failure to explore opportunities "to educate the population about the aim of the deliberations" and to undertake efforts "to secure public participation in sustaining the intended outcomes of the deliberations."