Govt-Opposition talks…says Govt always open to dialogueMinister of State, Joseph Harmon recently stated that the Administration has always been committed to dialogue with the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Opposition, who he accused of “picking and choosing” when to engage Government. “President [David Granger] has always made it clear that we are interested in dialogue and that we believe, we believe that all of the resources of this country, Government, Opposition, Private Sector and all the stakeholders are necessary for us to move this country forward. So, dialogue is something which he openly wishes to be associated with and will take every step to ensure that we can continue to have dialogue in this country,” Harmon said.He was at the time responding to questions about President Granger and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo coming to an agreement to engage on matters of national importance.However, the Minister of State went on to accuse the Opposition of being selective when participating in national discussions.“The Opposition has been very selective in the matters in which they wanted to deal with. In the appointment to Boards and Commissions, they have chosen the ones they will go to. At meetings, to which they were invited, they have chosen the ones to which they will come, and so it’s basically been sort of a picking and choosing by them,” Harmon pointed out.On Thursday last, it was revealed that the intervention of former United States President Jimmy Carter had resulted in the two Guyanese leaders agreeing to have a dialogue on national issues.Following a meeting with the Head of State, Jagdeo explained that the PPP was refusing to have such engagements with Government under the auspices of Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, because the Party felt that he did not have the power to make commitments and decisions on behalf of the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition Administration.“[The impression out there is that] we are unwilling to engage, because we don’t like Nagamootoo… [But] that’s absolutely not true, it is not the individual, but his inability to make commitments that we cannot accept. I pointed out to President Carter that the AFC can’t even secure a meeting with APNU … to discuss the Cummingsburg Accord. Secondly, Nagamootoo has no substantive or serious portfolio … and that is the reason why (we refused to meet),” the Opposition Leader explained to media operatives on Thursday.However, Minister Harmon said that the PPP has always disrespected Prime Minister Nagamootoo, who is also the first Vice President.“Well, the Opposition, as you know, has always try to disrespect our Prime Minister. Our Prime Minister, of course, has actually treated that with dignity and aplomb in the way he executes the functions of his office, but they’ve actually said some very terrible things sometimes about our Prime Minister in the National Assembly,” the Minister of State outlined, while praising Nagamootoo for carrying out his responsibilities with efficiency.Nevertheless, Harmon noted that to avoid any further hindrances in engaging the PPP, President Granger has committed to personally leading future talks with the Opposition.During Thursday’s meeting, the Head of State proposed three topics – crime, environment and oil and gas – for the first set of talks with the Opposition. Jagdeo said he would be discussing these areas with his party’s Executive and would get back to the President.