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Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Keith Mitchell has stated that the visit by four regional Heads of Government is a demonstration of the Region’s “absolute commitment” to the reconciliatory process in Guyana following the tension after the December 15, 1997 General Elections.

Speaking to the media on Wednesday night, Dr. Mitchell said that as a further show of support for the process, he and the Rt. Hon. Owen Arthur, Prime Minister of Barbados decided to remain in Guyana to attend the opening of Parliament on Thursday 26 February, 1998. Prime Ministers the Hon. Basdeo Panday of Trinidad and Tobago, and Dr. the Hon. Kenny Anthony of St. Lucia, who left after the one-day round of talks, were part of the team of leaders who held extensive discussions with all the political parties.

Other members of the team were CARICOM Secretary-General Mr. Edwin Carrington, Sir Henry Forde, leader of the CARICOM Mission which worked out the Herdmanston Accord between the two major parties, Commission member Sir Shridath Ramphal, and Mr. Hugh Cholmondeley.

According to the CARICOM Chairman, the naming of an audit team to investigate the conduct of the December 15 elections, and the agreement on draft legislation to facilitate this process, are so far, major achievements of the regional initiative. He said that as CARICOM facilitates the process, it is the people and leaders of Guyana who must play the major role. There must be a spirit of compromise, boldness, and courageous effort for concrete and lasting peace, Dr. Mitchell said.

He noted that Parliament was extremely important and the absence of any group from that body was not positive.

The 7th Parliament is expected to, among other things, pass legislation regarding the audit of the December 15 polls.

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