President says remains open to dialogue with opposition by Chamanlall Naipaul
Guyana Chronicle
April 5, 2004

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PRESIDENT Bharrat Jagdeo has reiterated his openness on the issue of dialogue with the Leader of the Opposition and of the People's National Congress/Reform (PNC/R), Robert Corbin.

Responding at his press conference Friday to the recent announcement by Corbin that he was pulling out of the dialogue, the President said he does not want to get involved in rhetoric because the Guyanese people have become fed up with talk that isn't backed by action. However, he indicated that he would be issuing a response in due course to the announcement by Corbin.

Responding to the call by Corbin to widen the scope of the dialogue, the President said he has an open mind with respect to the process.

A communiqué was signed on May 6, 2003, by President Jagdeo and Corbin ushering in the resumption of the dialogue process which was put on pause by Corbin's predecessor Desmond Hoyte.

The communiqué falls within the ambit of the reformed Constitution in terms of inclusiveness and participation of the opposition in the administering of the affairs of the country. It seeks to give immediate effect to many of the provisions and agreements contained in the St. Lucia Statement and the Hermandston Accord.

Meanwhile, the President said that because of the present impasse with respect to the dialogue he has not had the opportunity to speak with Corbin on a "one on one" as regards the allegations of the existence of a Death Squad.

"Because of the impasse, PNC/R's refusal to talk on any matter, we have not had an opportunity, the Leader of the Opposition and I to talk about the matter on a one on one basis, outside of a chance meeting on a Coast guard vessel that came here from the US after I just returned from India in January," the President explained.

He added: "I think that if we had those discussions we might have been able to sort out some procedure that would have treated all the people who were accused, fairly, that they do not have a trial by the media and the public, and at the same to assure Guyanese that the government has nothing to hide and that we are fully transparent on the matter. But there has never been that opportunity to talk on the issue. By the time I got back to Guyana the PNC had made demands."