PPP open to partnership with political parties, civil society – Jagdeo says

The PPP is open to engagement and will not ignore or cast aside without listening or carefully considering, any arrangement that will focus on serving the people and bringing greater ethnic, religious and other securities to the country, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo says.

“We remain open, not just with APNU, but right now with civil society…we remain open to working with anyone who share the same objective as we share,” he said at a press conference at his Church Street, Queenstown office yesterday.

“Our objectives are a government that looks after all the people of Guyana whether you vote for that government or not, that looks out for your interest equally, a government that looks out for every race. We are always open to discussions. I am very explicit about it,” Jagdeo stated.

Asked whether he had brought up the issue of shared governance during his meeting with President David Granger earlier yesterday, Jagdeo responded that the issue was not on the agenda.           

Nevertheless, he said that all the political parties are saying that they love Guyana and they want a multiracial, multiethnic, multi-religious Guyana and that all the people must share the benefits.

The parties have their constituencies and the PPP is open to the issue once they share the same objectives, he reiterated.

At the level of the PPP, he said, there has been no discussion on any specific formulation. One thing about the PPP, he said, is that the issue of shared governance has been around since the days of Dr Cheddi Jagan who has written about it and even proposed a national front government in the seventies.

As an old party, he said, “We have had the discussions hundreds of times before and we do have ideas. We do have great ideas about all of this.”

He recalled that in 2004 at State House, he launched a paper on the issue titled, ‘Building trust towards inclusive governance’.   “Even if you look at that, you would see a documented position. At the level of the executive, we have had hundreds of discussions on these matters,” he said adding that every member of the party’s leadership believes in reaching out and inclusion. He said he was not going to speculate on what form or shape the arrangement will take. “The objective is, it is good for Guyana. If we all share that view, I am sure we can find a way of working together,” said Jagdeo.

On the issue of constitutional reform, the opposition leader said it is not something that “you toy with.”

The PPP, he said, “will commit to…a broad-based process for constitutional reform and whatever comes out of that process, we will respect. We will commit to the process but not to arrogantly say we want to do this or do that.”

There is a great deal of arrogance in specifying, as a party, what it wants to do without testing it, he said.

In relation to some newly formed parties speaking about constitutional reform and what they intend to do, Jagdeo said, “This is a free country. Everybody has a right to form whatever they want. But I believe that you cannot go and say, ‘I want the following things to happen’ and you have not even consulted with people yet – who you doing it for. It must come from the people of our country.”

When the PPP had a constitutional reform commission, he said, there were 10 representatives from the political parties (five from government and five from the opposition) and ten from civil society. It was a national effort and the issues came from the people, according to Jagdeo. 

The issues did not come from someone sitting in an office in Georgetown and saying, “This is what I want because it serves my interest or one organisation or one political party,” he said.

The current administration, Jagdeo charged, hijacked the process for constitutional reform leaving out their own political people and the opposition as well.

“We will commit to an approach. To do otherwise will be arrogant,” he said.

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