Gov't welcomes Corbin's parliamentary motion
Stabroek News
February 16, 2003

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An Office of the President official yesterday greeted the PNCR's decision to seek a sitting of the National Assembly on Wednesday to discuss issues of concern, as a "step in the direction of resolving the current political and Parliamentary impasse in the country."

Though sources close to the Office of the President have told Stabroek News that the government has agreed to convene the parliament on Wednesday, this newspaper has been unable to reach either the Speaker or the Clerk of the National Assembly to confirm this decision.

This paper understands that efforts were being made to contact Corbin who is on a retreat with the rest of the PNCR leadership outside of Georgetown to inform him of the government's decision.

The Guyana Information Agency (GINA) reported Information Liaison to the President Robert Persaud as saying, "the PNCR's return to Parliament and Government's positive response... [in] this respect can only have a positive impact on the efforts to construct a new political culture as outlined by President Bharrat Jagdeo when he presented the PPP/C's Government position on greater inclusive governance at State House last Saturday."

The motion submitted by the PNCR in Corbin's name seeks, in response to the impending electricity crisis, to have the government agree to a freeze on the electricity rates at the present levels and for it to table the agreements it proposes to enter into with the Guyana Power and Light Company for approval by a two- thirds majority.

Also the motion seeks in response to the other political, social and economic crises facing the country to have the government agree to present for the approval of the National Assembly an emergency plan to lift the country out of the current economic crisis and to set up an emergency fund and rescue programme to be managed with the full involvement of the parliamentary opposition to address the plight of the unemployed especially the unemployed young people in the villages throughout the country.

It also calls on the government to implement within clearly defined time-frames the decisions of the Hoyte/Jagdeo dialogue process and the agreed constitutional reforms, including the establishment of the parliamentary management committee and the establishment of the Ethnic Relations Commission.

The St Lucia Statement signed in 1998 in Castries, St Lucia, by then President Janet Jagan and PNCR leader Desmond Hoyte looked to establish the parliamentary management committee but the issue of its composition has not been settled.

On Friday the parliamentary opposition parties started looking at ways to address the concerns of the government with regard to their proposal for parity on the ten-man parliamentary management committee which they want the Speaker to chair. They are to meet again this week to continue their discussions.

They say that their formulation gives the PPP/C five members with the other five split between the PNCR, which would have three seats and ROAR and GAP/WPA one seat each. The government position is that parliamentary committees are required to reflect the composition of the National Assembly and as such it should have the majority on the committee. It would like a six-four composition and one of its members in the chair.

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