Representatives of the Parliamentary Opposition Parties met on Wednesday June 9, 2004 to review political developments in Guyana. In particular, they discussed the situation with regard to the death squad allegations against the Minister of Home Affairs and related matters.

The Opposition Parties reaffirmed their positions on this issue and are unanimous in their view that:
• Guyana’s interests can be best served by a thorough and independent and impartial Inquiry which is in line with international norms;
• That the Parliamentary Opposition Parties remain of the view that the Inquiry announced by President Jagdeo falls far short of that required to lay to rest the allegations and the implications arising from them;
• That the Terms of Reference announced by President Jagdeo is inadequate in terms of what is required to hold a successful and credible Inquiry;
• That the continued presence of Mr. Gajraj in office at the Ministry of Home affairs severely undermines the credibility of President Jagdeo's proposals.

The Opposition Parties stand ready to honour their undertaking to assist the Government in generating the Terms of Reference for a credible Inquiry and reaffirm their willingness to do all that is necessary to ensure that all legislative action required to facilitate that Inquiry is under taken.

The Opposition Parties are still hopeful that good sense will prevail and that the Commissioners named will recuse themselves from this farcical exercise and that the Government will seek consensus support from the Opposition and civil society for a way forward in this matter.

The Parties note with concern that there is evidence of attempts to tamper with and intimidate potential witnesses to an Inquiry. This development does not augur well for the integrity of the process and calls into question the seriousness and sincerity of the PPP/C Administration.

The Opposition Parties will, however, continue their support for a political campaign to ensure the involvement of civil society in this matter. They will also intensify the pubic awareness campaign by their respective Parties to ensure that the Guyanese people are kept aware and abreast of the issues.

The Opposition Parties have also agreed to again write to the Secretary General of the United Nations seeking support for Guyana in this crisis, conscious of the fact that the deteriorating security and political situation has moral and political implications for the international community.

The Parties also discussed the implications of the security crisis on the electoral process in Guyana. They also noted with concern the lack of progress in the review of the constitutional arrangements for new elections to be held in accordance with the understandings of the constitutional review process.

Friday, June 11, 2004