The Civil Society Forum (CSF), a platform of nine Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), this week, met with President, Dr Irfaan Ali and other officials to bolster the partnership between Government and civil society that is based on a new ‘two-way’ relationship that creates the possibility for future collaboration regarding matters of national importance.
Attorney-General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance (MOPAG), Gail Teixeira were also present at the meeting on August 16.
The forum, which seeks to promote citizen participation in decision-making processes of the State as per Article 13 of Guyana’s Constitution, identified and discussed it’s four priorities — developing a civil society agenda, strengthening the legal architecture for civil society, improving the performance of key state institutions, and helping to heal Guyana’s socio-political wounds.
In this context, discussions focused on the One Guyana Commission, the Guyana Police Force, single window systems to make it easier for citizens to engage Government services, and the strengthening of mechanisms for citizens to participate in policy making processes, were amongst other key areas discussed.
“One Guyana is the big project,” President Ali said, adding, “It is not about soft issues but rather, tangible things, like opportunities and prosperity for all Guyanese.”
The Attorney-General highlighted that “law must always have the support of the people” while welcoming citizen inputs on legislation. Minister Teixeira also spoke about Government’s support for mechanisms that build citizen involvement.
The CSF signalled its willingness to learn more about Government’s plans in areas related to the forum’s four priority areas. The forum also pledged its support for efforts to promote transparency and citizen inclusion in policy making processes. Several follow up actions were identified, in an effort to foster a deeper relationship between citizens and Government.
Members of the CSF expressed gratitude for the dialogue and assured that they were willing to engage moving forward.
CSF is a coalition of organizations, including Electoral Reform Guyana (ERG), Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC), Heal Guyana (HG), Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO), the Roman Catholic Church (RC) and Transparency Institute Guyana Inc. (TIGI).
CSF representatives present at the discussion included Sharon Lalljee-Richard, Lawrence Latchmansingh, Bishop Francis Alleyne, Vanessa Williams, Ronald McGarrell and Maulana Tasdeeq Aabidi.