Steady progress in communiqué implementation
Guyana Chronicle
July 10, 2003

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There has been steady progress in the implementation of agreements contained in the communiqué signed between President Bharrat Jagdeo and Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Robert Corbin.

Head of the Presidential Secretariat (HPS), Dr. Roger Luncheon at his weekly news conference yesterday said that the implementation of the agreements continues to be the focus of Government and Opposition political engagements.

“On the parliamentary front, progress with implementation has been consistent particularly, with respect to appointments to parliamentary and other constitutional bodies and operationalizing of the Parliamentary Management Committee.

However, he noted that several issues are still under discussion and these include provision of support to Parliament in its new role, remuneration of Members of Parliament because of their expanded duties and the Rights Commissions Establishment.

He reported too that the Bipartisan Committees are working to conclude their tasks which include the identification of depressed communities for the leaders to discuss and the conclusion of Local Government Reform initiatives.

Welcoming the establishment of the Disciplined Forces Commission, Dr. Luncheon expressed regret that the People’s National Congress/Reform (PNC/R) nominee who is from Ireland has not taken the Oath of Office as yet.

Asked whether the Government would be providing funds to bring the PNC/R’s nominee here, he replied that the administration has made it clear that it will not do so.

Dr. Luncheon also said soon the commitment to institute a monitoring/reporting mechanism would be implemented and there would be monthly briefings by representatives of the two sides to a broad cross-section of Guyanese.

As regards the “new style” Parliament, Dr. Luncheon said there has been “markedly increased activities” apart from the sitting of the National Assembly, pointing out for the current week, many parliamentary committees would be having business meetings.

He announced that today the National Assembly would see the introduction of the Constitutional Reform Bills on Fundamental Rights and another specifically on sexual orientation. He explained that when the Bill was first presented the two issues were contained in the Bill, however, they have now been separated into two Bills and there has been a proposed amendment on the one dealing with sexual orientation.

Asked whether the Government would be supporting the proposed amendment he replied in the negative.

Also under consideration would be the Maritime Anti-narcotics Smuggling Bill also known as “Shiprider” and reports from parliamentary Committees, Dr. Luncheon said.

Importantly too, he added, Parliament would be considering the report and motion on consultations with bodies representing Public Officers.

A Bill for the repeal of the Sugar Levy Act would be tabled as would one to decontrol the price of sugar domestically, the HPS reported.