PNCR slams poverty session exclusion
Organisers say meeting was community, not policy-based
Stabroek News
February 4, 2004

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The PNCR has criticised the government for not including it in a recent consultation on the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) at Diamond, East Bank Demerara.

However, in an invited comment an official close to the PRSP said the consultation two Sundays ago was a community-based one. The official said everyone was invited and the PNCR was in no way excluded. The official told this newspaper that the secretariat was only concerned with the consultation, noting that with regard to the wider programme it was a matter for government and the policymakers.

The party said during a recent visit by Managing Director of the World Bank Shengman Zhang, the PNCR indicated its intention to cooperate with the government and the bank to ensure that the resources made available to Guyana under the PRSP and the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC) arrangements were utilised in a fair and transparent manner.

However, the party says it has already seen that the government has no intention of collaborating or consulting with it.

"We are very concerned about this issue and have already written the World Bank bringing their attention to our disquiet on the inauspicious start to the implementation stage of these programmes," the party said.

The PRSP is at the centre of Guyana's development agenda and it sets out national goals for growth, creating new jobs and reducing poverty, a release from the PRSP secretariat said.

According to the release, the PRSP programme was prepared by government following an extensive consultation exercise involving thousands of Guyanese.

The release said since the PRSP was published in 2001, the government has been implementing a substantial reform programme to enable Guyana to secure debt relief under the HIPC initiative. December last year saw the culmination of this process when over US$330 million was secured in debt relief to be spread over 20 years.

The release said the programme has three objectives: to update participants on regional and national activities related to the PRSP; to outline how communities can become involved with monitoring PRSP related activities in the region; and to elect representatives to the regional monitoring committees.