Commonwealth envoy hopeful over political developments

Stabroek News
May 27, 2003

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Sir Paul Reeves, the Special Envoy of the Commonwealth Secretary-General says he leaves Guyana with a renewed sense of hope as he senses a real desire by the political parties and the people of Guyana to move forward and consolidate the gains made possible through political dialogue. He says he looks forward to returning in the near future to continue his work.

Sir Paul in a statement issued yesterday after he completed his latest round of consultations since his arrival here on May 19, welcomed the May 6 communiqué signed by President Bharrat Jagdeo and Opposition Leader Robert Corbin and "the importance it places on an effective Parliament."

"Parliamentary Committees and Commissions are being established, the PNCR has returned to take its place and the leaders have pledged to continue their constructive engagement."

Calling the communiqué a "very significant development", Sir Paul said that both leaders had "shown considerable leadership" and urged them "to continue to do so as they confront difficult and challenging issues."

In his statement Sir Paul described the communiqué as the beginning of a process explaining that as further decisions were made and the work of the Committees and the Commissions began, "the capacity of the parliament to handle these increased responsibilities is very important and the monitoring of the implementation phase is crucial."

"I am pleased that the international community including the Commonwealth is ready to assist in whatever way is thought appropriate."

Sir Paul also conveyed "his sincerest congratulations to the Leaders and to the people of Guyana on their 37th Anniversary of Independence: a day of rejoicing and renewed commitment to the future of the nation."

Sir Paul was appointed by Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon to assist in the efforts to reactivate the political dialogue between President Jagdeo and Corbin's predecessor as Leader of the Opposition, the late Desmond Hoyte. He paid his first visit in August and his last visit was on February 23, a couple of weeks after Corbin was elected leader of the PNCR following Hoyte's death on December 22. Sir Paul was accompanied on this visit by Judith Pestaina and Albert Miramar, officials of the Common-wealth Secretariat.

As point of contact for Sir Paul in Guyana, the Commonwealth Secretariat appointed Chuks Ihekaibeya, another Secretariat official who has been in Guyana continuously from January.

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