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Office of the President, Thursday, 12th and Wednesday 18th June 2003
1. Review of progress on Issues arising from work of Bi-Partisan Committees:
The Chairpersons and Co-Chairpersons of the revived Bi-Partisan Committees on Local Government Reform and the Depressed Communities Needs should submit to them joint fortnightly written progress reports on the work of their Committees.
In the case of matters to be implemented by identified agencies/entities - National Policy on Land and House lots Distribution, Radio Monopoly and Non Partisan Boards, and Border and National Security Issues (including the Recapitalization of the GDF) the Minister or the Head of the agency or entity should also submit fortnightly reports on the progress of implementation of the matters for which they are responsible.
2. Appointment of the Disciplined Forces Commission.
The President and the Leader of the Opposition will continue their discussion on the composition of the Commission.
They agreed that two (2) Observers – one (1) selected by the President and one (1) selected by the Leader of the Opposition - from internationally reputable organisations may be accredited to the Commission.
They also agreed that the Commission would start its work on Tuesday 2003 July 1 and that the Office of the President would be responsible for ensuring that all necessary arrangements are finalised for that start date.
3. The National Development Strategy:
The President and the Leader of the Opposition agreed that the National Development Strategy paper should be re-laid in the National Assembly and subjected to debate therein.
4. Establishment of Office of the Leader of the Opposition:
The President and the Leader of the Opposition, after reviewing our practices and the practices in Barbados, Jamaica, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago and the UK, agreed to institutionalise the Office of the Leader of the Opposition within two (2) months (2003 mid-August) of their meeting.
5. Establishment of the Committee to Prepare a Comprehensive Development Programme for Region #10:
The President has indicated that he has organised a small group to coordinate the activities of relevant Government and other agencies to place in a single document their various development programmes for Region 10. This document will be presented to the President within six (6) weeks.
The President and the Leader of the Opposition will appoint a joint team to ascertain whether the document represents a comprehensive development programme for Region 10.
6. Review of Arrangements for the Effective Functioning of the Parliamentary Committees:
The President and the Leader of the Opposition agreed that:
• The Public Utilities Commission would be relocated from the Public Building within two months (by 2003 July 31).
• The Parliamentary Management Committee will prepare plans and cost estimates for the physical modification of the Public Building to accommodate additional staff and facilities for the work of the Committees and the National Assembly as a whole.
• An IT Expert will be recruited shortly to determine and specify the short, medium and long-term IT needs of the National Assembly Office.
• As an interim measure, two (2) computers with full Internet access will be immediately installed in the National Assembly library for use by MPs.
• Once approved by the National Assembly, the plans and cost estimates will be submitted to the Head of the Presidential Secretariat for funding.
• The recruitment of the Research Co-ordinator and other professional researchers that was agreed to in the Communiqué should be expedited by the Parliamentary Management Committee.
They noted that the organisational chart for increasing the administrative capacity of the National Assembly Office has been approved by the Public Service Ministry and permission has been given for the additional staff to be recruited.
They also agreed that, taking account of the considerably increased work load and time commitments which are being imposed on MPs as a consequence of the Parliamentary and Constitutional reforms which are being implemented, their High Representatives should present them with their recommendation for improving the remunerations of MPs.
7. Establishment of Mechanism for Supervising Implementation and Monitoring the Matters Agreed in the Communiqué:
The President and the Leader of the Opposition agreed that the following arrangements would be implemented immediately:
• They will meet periodically to review progress and make any adjustments they deem necessary.
• Their High Representatives will prepare an agreed Project Schedule of Matters to be implemented. On the basis of the agreed Schedule, they will meet fortnightly to:
• Review the progress of implementation.
• Agree on follow-up action which they deem necessary to ensure the smooth implementation of the matters agreed.
• Dismantle bottlenecks in a timely fashion.
• Brief the President and the Leader of the Opposition on the current state and progress of implementation.
• The High Representatives of the President and the Leader of the Opposition will hold a periodic Stakeholders’ Briefing with the representatives of the other political parties, civil society, the diplomatic community and other national and international agencies to review progress and agree on any follow-up action which they agree is necessary to ensure the smooth implementation of the matters agreed within the Communiqué of 2003 May 6 and any other agreements since then.
They agreed that they would continue to explore additional mechanisms for monitoring the implementation of the Communiqué and subsequent agreements.
8. Remuneration for Members of Constitutional Commissions:
The President and the Leader of the Opposition agreed the need for adequate remuneration and facilities for Commissioners appointed to Constitutional Commissions such as the Ethnic Relations, Public Procurement and Rights Commissions.
They requested their representatives to prepare proposals for their consideration.
9. Other matters considered.
The President and the Leader of the Opposition agreed that the following matters would be the subject of further consultations:
• The legislation on the Crossing of the Floor by Members of Parliament.
• The legislation establishing a permanent Elections Commission.
• Ensuring that the spirit of the Constitution is not breached in the appointment of members of the Constitutional Commissions.
2003 June 18th 2003