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Jagdeo willing to consider proposals to reactivate Ethnic Relations Commission

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo.

Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo says he is willing to consider any option to get the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) up and running, after government left the door open for the appointment of nominees that had been approved by the last Parliament.

Government said Jagdeo might be approached to consider a motion to appoint the nominees that had been approved by the National Assembly prior to the last general election.

Reacting, the Opposition Leader declined to deal specifically with the idea that has been floated by Minister of Governance Raphael Trotman. “We are willing to consider anything providing we move swiftly to have this constitutional body functional so we are prepared to discuss anything with them that would see an early resumption of the operation of the body,” he said.

Jagdeo said it was too early to comment on the Trotman-proposal because he had not seen it yet.

Then President Donald Ramotar, during the life of the 10th Parliament, had not sworn in the nominees for the ERC and several other constitutionally required Rights Commissions.

Trotman said one of the suggestions being made is for the Opposition Leader to agree to the approval of a motion that would see the 11th Parliament accepting those nominees and eventually having them sworn in. The appointments to the Rights Commission require at least two-thirds support from parliamentarians.

The People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) has rejected government’s thrust towards Social Cohesion, going so far as to refuse to participate in a recent national round-table on grounds that such a move was usurping the ERC’s role.

Also cited as a reason by the PPPC was the alleged dismissal of thousands of persons by the government since it assumed office in May, 2015.