Cabinet body to mull method of police force probe

Stabroek News
April 22, 2003

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A Cabinet sub-committee has been set up to look at the proposal for a parliamentary mechanism to conduct a public inquiry into the operations of the Guyana Police Force.

Robert Persaud, the Information Liaison to the President, told Stabroek News that the sub-committee has among its members Home Affairs Minister Ronald Gajraj, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Reepu Daman Persaud, Cabinet Secretary Dr Roger Luncheon and Commissioner of Police (designate) Winston Felix. The sub-committee is expected to hold its first meeting shortly.

The commission of inquiry into the operations of the police force is one of the agenda items for the scheduled meeting between President Jagdeo and PNCR leader, Robert Corbin.

Another agenda item not yet settled is the composition of the parliamentary sector committees dealing with foreign affairs, economic services, natural resources and social services. Stabroek News understands that this was one of the issues discussed when the PPP’s central executive committee met at Freedom House on Thursday.

The government has indicated its willingness to omit ministers from the committees if the parliamentary opposition would agree to a constitutional amendment that would increase the number of non-elected ministers from four to ten. Alternatively it is proposing a reduction in the size of the committees from eleven (six government and five opposition) to seven (four government and three opposition). The PNCR, this newspaper understands, would find acceptable a reduction from eleven to nine (five government and four opposition) given that the four seats that are available to the opposition have to be distributed among the three opposition parties. Alternatively, it would not object to two of the committees likely to have the heavier workload (natural resources and social services) being reduced from eleven to nine and the other two being reduced to seven.

A meeting between the government and opposition representatives arranging the meeting is likely to be held this week to see if some middle ground could be reached.

It is now about seventy-nine days since Corbin accepted President Jagdeo’s meeting that the two should meet to initiate, in Corbin’s words “a constructive engagement.” Their representatives, however, have been unable to resolve the issues to a point where their principals could sign off on them and so ensure that their meeting is fruitful.

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