Meeting with First Minister

I met with Peter Robinson, the First Minister, today. The purpose of our meeting was to talk about the crisis with the Presbyterian Mutual Society ahead of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister meeting with the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, tomorrow. It was a very cordial and positive meeting and I was impressed at how conversant the FM was with the PMS situation.

The benefit of having political power devolved to our local representatives is that on important issues it is possible to eye-ball the person who makes the decisions and to present one’s arguments. But in this situation, it seems that the key decisions will be made in London with the Prime Minister and the Treasury. I am confident that the FM and DFM really do appreciate the gravity of the situation with the PMS and will do a good job at presenting the important, and, I believe compelling, arguments in favour of government action.

Let’s pray that the PM’s presbyterian heart will be moved by what the FM and DFM have to say and that the PMS savers will have the response they have longed and prayed for.

Here’s the press release that followed our meeting:

Presbyterian Moderator Dr Stafford Carson has described his meeting today
with First Minister Peter Robinson concerning the Presbyterian Mutual
Society (PMS) as “very positive and constructive.”

Commenting after the meeting Dr Carson said, “today’s meeting was very
positive and constructive and clearly focussed on finding a solution to the
situation surrounding the Presbyterian Mutual Society.

“The First Minister left me in no doubt that he and his colleagues are fully
engaged with the issues and keen to find a resolution to the situation as
soon as possible.

“The Church has its part to play but it is absolutely vital that those with
the financial expertise and responsibility join together to consider what
means can be found to resolve the problems currently being faced by the PMS.

“We are still calling on the Prime Minister to intervene and I have
confidence in the First Minister to present the various arguments in a
persuasive manner to ensure that Mr Brown will be true to his word that no
UK saver will suffer as a result of the present financial crisis.

“I am encouraged too by the Secretary of State’s comments that no
bureaucratic obstacles should be allowed to get in the way of finding a
successful solution.

“As a Christian I have to be optimistic and I would once again encourage
people to pray for this situation that it may be resolved in a just and fair
manner for all concerned.”

Dr Carson’s meeting with the First minister took place today, Tuesday 16
June ahead of tomorrow’s meeting between the Prime Minister and First
Minister to discuss the PMS crisis.

Attending today’s meeting along with Dr Carson and Mr Robinson were former
Moderator Dr Donald Patton and Clerk of Assembly, Dr Donald Watts, a
representative of the Deputy First minister and junior Minister Jeffery
Donaldson.  The meeting lasted approximately 40 minutes.