Vale Royal Talks must not be allowed to fail

Friday, July 13, 2018

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Dear Editor,

Generation 2000 (G2K) is taking the Opposition People's National Party to task over its threat to withdraw from the Vale Royal Talks. The young professional affiliate of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) believes the threat as self-serving and retrograde.

It was widely reported in the media that the Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips, while reacting to the actions taken by Cabinet regarding Petrojam, threatened to withdraw from the Vale Royal Talks.

The Vale Royal Talks is a mechanism for the two main political parties to have dialogue on critical national issues. Items that were on the agenda for the April 2018 meeting included national security, electoral reverification, and chairmanship of parliamentary committees.

It is the nature of our democracy that there will always be matters that Government and the Opposition disagree on. However, there are many critical matters that we should approach in a bipartisan manner and find common ground on.

It is shameful that Dr Phillips would be willing to disregard so many issues of national importance because the Opposition disagrees with the Government on a single matter. While Dr Phillips might be willing to 'cut off his nose to spite his face', the level of political immaturity that is being displayed by the Opposition does the people of Jamaica a terrible disservice.

Government and Opposition members who met at The University of West Indies, Mona Campus, for the Vale Royal Talks in April agreed to consider the inclusion of the private sector, Church and civil society groups periodically to participate in the dialogue on crime, violence and public order. Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang reported in June that there was a near 10 per cent reduction in murders in Jamaica when compared to the corresponding year-to-date period last year.

After the last Vale Royal Talks Phillips pledged to continue the bipartisan effort to arrive at unified positions on the way forward with regard to crime and electoral reverification. Now the Opposition is threatening to withdraw.

Generation 2000 is calling on the Government, the private sector and civil society groups who are well-thinking Jamaicans to remain committed to meeting in the event that the Opposition follows through with its threat to exclude itself from constructive discussions that are beneficial to the people of Jamaica.

Stephen Edwards

President

Generation 2000

g2kpresident@gmail.com

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