Current Affairs

Current Affairs




PM, Seaga summit set for Nov 1
Observer Reporter
Friday, October 25, 2002


PATTERSON... meeting would be most fruitful if it did not proceed on the basis of a set agenda

PRIME Minister P J Patterson and Opposition Leader Edward Seaga are scheduled to meet at Vale Royal on Friday, November 1 at 10:00 am, where they are expected to discuss a range of issues concerning the government and opposition.

Seaga, the leader of the Jamaica Labour Party, on Tuesday sent a letter to the prime minister requesting that they discuss "critical concerns" of his party and establish the framework for a "stable relationship" between the government and the opposition in the island's new Parliament.

SEAGA... wants to discuss specific issues

But Jamaica House said yesterday that Patterson, in his letter inviting Seaga to the November 1 meeting, pointed out that he had made a proposal as far back as October 17, 2001 for "the establishment of a mechanism to ensure ongoing political dialogue between the leadership of the Government and the Opposition". The invitation, Patterson said, was also repeated publicly after the holding of the October 16 general elections.

"Your letter of October 22, 2002 serves to confirm the validity of my earlier suggestion and I hope you will now concur with the view that the time will never be more appropriate," Patterson said.

The prime minister said, too, that while the items raised in Seaga's letter were of considerable importance, the proposed meeting would be most fruitful if it did not proceed on the basis of a set agenda from one side and a counter agenda from the other.

Patterson suggested that prior to the meeting, Dr Peter Phillips, representing the government, and Derrick Smith, or whoever else Seaga may care to name, should "be instructed to meet immediately to finalise all the necessary preparations for this first meeting".

Among the issues the opposition leader proposed be discussed at the summit were:

* The appointment of an independent governor-general.

* An independent Police Services Commission; and

* Monthly meetings of the appropriations and internal affairs committee of Parliament, each of which he suggested be chaired by an opposition member.