Region Three body has no standing with Ethnic Relations Commission
October 31, 2003
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Chairman of the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC), Bishop Juan Edghill has disassociated the commission from an Ethnic Relations Committee that was set up in Region Three (Essequibo Islands/West Demerara) on October 18.
Bishop Edghill in a release yesterday referred to a report in the Sunday Chronicle of October 19, 2003 which stated at page 12 that an Ethnic Relations Committee was established in Region Three on October 18, and that it “comes under the umbrella of the national Ethnic Relations Commission”. The report was based on a release from the Government Information Agency (GINA) on October 18, which also named a number of officer bearers for the year commencing October 17, 2003.
“We wish to make it clear,” Edghill states, “that it is far from the truth and this committee has no standing with the Ethnic Relations Commission established by Article 212A of the Constitution.”
He added that no authorisation has been given by the Ethnic Relations Commission to anyone or group of persons to establish any committee under its auspices.
The ERC chairman also notes with concern that some training was expected by the Region Three committee “as it relates to ethnic relations and assistance has been sought from the Carter Center Guyana office.” However, he says, the ERC cannot dictate to any agency to whom it should lend support or financial assistance, but when an organisation is launched and it claims relationship with a constitutional body, verification should be obtained from that constitutional body.
Since the ERC was constituted in accordance with Article 212B (1) (a) of the Constitution, Edghill pointed out, it has had five meetings, and recently considered a “fan out” exercise to cover all the regions to discuss the formation of groups and enlighten citizens about its role and functions.