Public consultations on Poverty Reduction Strategy begin
Guyana Chronicle
April 4, 2004

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A PUBLIC consultation on the Progress Report for the Guyana Poverty Reduction Strategy held yesterday at the Ocean View International Hotel received an overwhelming response by members of the civil society yesterday.

A wide cross-section of Guyanese attended the one-day consultation which started 9:00 hrs.

The consultation is being held nation-wide for citizens to review of the programmes and policies of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) which sets out national goals for economic growth, job creation and, ultimately, poverty reduction.

It will also allow participants to give suggestions and opinions to influence the direction of the Poverty Reduction and Strategy.

The report is intended to inform the citizens of the achievements and shortcomings experienced in the realisation of the goals set out in the PRSP.

One of the members of the steering committee, Ms. Jocelyn Dow, who spoke briefly at the opening noted that what is significant is that the programme is funded from three sources: part of bilateral assistance from donors; debt relief and national taxes.

This, she said, gives the citizens the right to participate, “since we are partly funding what is going to be this strategy and that participation has been adequately enabled by the implementation unit”.

She also identified some constrains and issues that need immediate attention before meaningful advances can be made.

According to Ms. Dow, the document was acknowledged as substance in a sense of the National Development Strategy (NDS) but it does not invoke the presence of that strategy.

She also touched on the need for better organisation, pointing to the late distribution of the report and highlighted the need for ordinary citizens to understand it by having clearly defined time-bound targets.

Reports from Regions Three and Four were presented by the respective Regional Executive Officers and presentations were also made by Mr. Carvil Duncan, President of the Guyana Trades Union Congress, and representatives of the Guyana Consumers Associations, Guyana Manufacturers Association and Region Three NGO.

Dr. Roger Luncheon, who presented an overview, acknowledged and recognised the broad-based participation and response by individual institutions.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Ms. Gail Teixeira, and Minister of Public Service Ms. Jennifer Westford were also at the Ocean View consultations.

A similar exercise was held in Linden yesterday. (Shirwin Campbell)