Manifesto 2001 AGENDA for DEVELOPMENT The Modernisation of Guyana With PNC REFORM
The PNC REFORM is the result of a political conviction that inclusivity enhances our capacity to serve the nation. This conviction has become strengthened in the PNC over its history.
That evolution has been stimulated and directed mainly by the following convictions:
§ The need to continue to move away from the previous views about the desirability of socialism
§ The need to ensure that private initiative and entrepreneurship underpin the development thrust of Guyana.
§ Guyana's development is fundamentally dependent on access to, and the involvement of, all the human resources that could be available to Guyana's development effort
§ The educational and other opportunities that technological advances, particularly in relation to information technology, provide for pursuing Guyana's development
§ The need to devise and implement a new form of governance for Guyana that will allow us to move away from: ethnic divisiveness, over-centralisation of decision‑making, inefficiencies in project definition and implementation, avoidance of the rule of law, and the mushrooming growth of corrupt practice
§ The need to move towards a democratic system based on the inclusion of individuals, their organisation in decision-making about their affairs
§ All this involves consciously moving away from the traditional “winner take all” approach which dictates the objectives of public life and governance at national and regional levels in our multi-ethnic society
Our focus on human resources, on technology, and on governance has led us to the view that Guyana’s development should be based on at least three pillars:
1. The radical transformation of the systems and nature of governance to bring into being a more responsive structure
2. The development and use of the human resource potential to enhance the quality of life for the entire local Guyanese community in close cooperation with the Guyanese Diaspora
3. A focus on modernisation and technology transfer as a means of complementing the other pillars towards enhancing our productivity and efficiency
It is against this background that the "PNC" has evolved to the "PNC REFORM". We have redefined our philosophy to embrace this view of our future. In our approach to development we are prepared to continue to organize ourselves to foster involvement of individuals who are new to the political process or have had other previous allegiances.
There is no requirement of formal Party membership. There is no promise of political office. The key factor is the commitment to involve patriots in the process of governance of Guyana’s affairs. The only requirement for membership of the “REFORM” group is commitment to, and willingness to be involved in, designing and implementing the new vision for Guyana.
The PNC REFORM wishes to assemble the best team from all the human resources available to Guyana for the purpose of managing Guyana’s development process. This is not just to compete for political power but also to allow all ideas to contend transparently in determining what is be done and how it is to be done.
§ PNC REFORM is open to all who share our vision
§ PNC REFORM is focused on the development needs of our country
§ PNC REFORM is responsive to the dynamic nature of our environment and the needs of Guyana
The PNC REFORM envisages that this approach will require a range of systemic changes. We need to strike out boldly in these new directions, and this declaration indicates and gives some of the rationale for the main initiatives that a PNC REFORM government will undertake.
The Guyana Crisis
Guyana's current parlous state has resulted from three types of system deficiencies:
Poor capabilities of the systems of governance poor capabilities of the systems used to predict, monitor, analyse, and respond in a timely and effective manner to economic and social welfare issues and challenges
Poor capabilities of the systems used to deal with developments on the international scene and to analyse and respond to the challenges they represent, and the opportunities they offer, in relation to Guyana's material development.
As a result of the ineffectiveness of these systems, a plethora of political, economic, and social ills has descended on Guyana, manifesting themselves mainly in:
§ Demoralisation, deterioration, and ineffectiveness of institutions such as the police, the military, and the judiciary, which are concerned with the rule of law and territorial integrity
§ Demoralisation of the public service, the teaching service, and the health services that are concerned with the current and future well being of the human resources on which Guyana's progress depends
§ Lack of investment in modern service and manufacturing sectors, deriving mainly from:
· The shoddy, offhand, and otherwise unpredictable treatment of potential investors, particularly those without "connections" to the governing party
· The absence of an equitable, coherent and transparent investment policy regime
· The absence of appropriate insolvency regulations to protect private entrepreneurs who have the courage to invest, from unforeseen or unforeseeable circumstances
· The lack of development of banking institutions and practices designed to facilitate the growth of domestic investors
· The absence of appropriate patent and copyright legislation without which domestic and foreign investors cannot be assured of the benefits of their creativity
· The entrenchment of a growing regime of "kick‑backs" as a prerequisite for getting business done in a timely, transparent, and effective manner
§ Demoralisation of existing investors and employees in the traditional core industries such as Rice; Bauxite; and Gold Mining
§ The charade of house lot allocation being used as a surrogate for satisfaction of the real need for actual houses
§ The unchecked increase in crime, especially violent crime, and in the concerns by individuals for the safety of themselves and their hard‑earned property
§ The everrising difficulty experienced even by university graduates, in obtaining employment
§ The rising difficulty of our citizens in meeting the costs of basic expenditures on food, housing, and electricity, allied with an incoherent approach to the complexities of poverty alleviation
§ The increasing inability of local communities to take, or to have taken, prompt and effective remedial actions to their well known problems, be they flooding, housing, electricity, or access to potable water or health services
§ The persistently callous, tardy, ineffective and insensitive treatment of the problems of hinterland communities e.g. land control policies, transportation difficulties, pest infestation
§ The inefficient design and execution of major infra structural projects, leading to the waste or criminal diversion of loan funds associated with these projects, without the checks and balances of transparency and accountability
All these difficulties have created an atmosphere of low productivity, low morale and pessimism among citizens, and the conviction that an individual's or a community's welfare resides substantially in the hands of the party in power, rather than in their own, with support from the government. In such an atmosphere, the ugly head of racial divisiveness is inevitable.
The party currently in power is incapable of comprehending and responding creatively to these challenges. They do not recognize the inappropriateness of their approach that places loyalty to the party above competence and national interest.
Towards Social and Economic Transformation
The PNC REFORM believes that the modernisation of the Guyanese society and the development of its economy are linked to a 'social and economic transformation'. By this term we refer to a process, which creates a more competitive, productive society with levels of skills and other capabilities different from and far higher than at present. This can only be achieved through the enhancement of individual, community, and institutional capabilities through the appropriate policies and investment in the human, social, and cultural and economic aspects of development. We believe that social and economic transformation should be based on clear principles:
§ Equitable distribution of wealth is pivotal to the cohesion of our multi‑ethnic society
§ Creation of wealth and access to opportunity are important aspects of economic development
§ The importance of job creation and micro economic opportunity as a crucial aspect of combating poverty
§ The integration of new technology and modern systems in training, learning, management and research and as a basis for creating a new social and economic environment in Guyana
§ The importance of reforming and modernising key national institutions
§ The importance of modernising and reforming the nature of governance
The Social and Economic Transformation of Guyana will include the following initiatives
§ The introduction of a modern A Freedom of Information Act
§ The removal of government ownership and control and the unfettering of all media as a prerequisite for greater public debate and scrutiny of public persons and institutions.
§ The involvement of Civil Society in the design and implementation of a National Social Policy
§ The reorganisation of traditional sectors
§ The expansion of our infrastructure base
§ The establishment of new industries and the generation of massive new investment
§ The granting of autonomy and scope to the people at the community, neighbourhood and regional levels
§ The enabling of greater participation in the social transformation by the integration of the work of government with the social partners such a organised labour, private sector and the NGOs in the relevant sectors
§ The integration of the social policy ministries such as health education, youth, labour and welfare in comprehensive and complementary programming. The fight against HIV/AIDS will be a key target for this approach
§ Priority will be given to the treatment of gender issues in an holistic and intersectoral manner
§ Priority will be given to the development of a more supportive safety net including inter alia, the expansion of national insurance and the development of unemployment insurance
§ The focus on education and training as a vehicle for social transformation will be essential to PNC REFORM
§ There will be a repositioning of our economic strategy to enhance the productivity of our traditional sectors
§ There will be heavy investment in creating the capacity to compete in the modern sectors
Institutional and Organisational Reform
The modernization of Guyana, which we intend to promote, would not be possible without far reaching measures directed at reshaping and restructuring key institutions, as well as the creation of more appropriate and useful institutions to cope with the nature and pace of reform. The more important changes we intend can be grouped into seven broad areas:
New Structure of Central Government
Our proposals on Constitutional Reform and Democratic Governance will lay the basis for a new structure of government and executive authority. In particular we intend to reconfigure the present ministerial portfolios. We propose new emphases on tourism, science and information technology, and development/production. Some existing sectors will be broadened and given a more modern set of responsibilities.
Important sectors will be grouped for better coordination, consistency, and a more modern approach to their subject matter. In particular, Ministries with concerns for the social sector (health, education, welfare services, community, housing and so on) will be strongly coordinated within a social policy planning approach.
The operations of parliament will be given greater prominence and support. Mechanisms for the greater involvement of the parliament and its sub-committees will be utilised to give transparent oversight to the activities of the governmental system.
In a market based economy, the financial sector has the primary responsibility for mobilising and allocating savings and investable resources. We intend to modernise this sector in Guyana by ensuring independence and autonomy of the Central Bank, a functioning Insurance Authority, the phased development of a Securities Exchange, and the establishment of a modern Development Bank linked to the provision of micro‑enterprise funding as one of its major priorities.
The Legal and Police Systems
In order to build investor confidence in the modernising of our economy, the efficiency, impartiality, and image of the legal system must be greatly enhanced. The current reforms will be strengthened and the status of the magistracy, the judiciary and the registry will be enhanced.
The current decline of public confidence in the police not only has a depressing effect on public morale but is also disincentive to investment and economic growth. The PNC REFORM will move with urgency to reform the police and its community relations and restore the professionalism of the force.
There is need for the creation of institutions dedicated to research, and knowledge creation, with which to fuel the development process. We intend to create a National Advisory Council ‑ a "Think Tank", in which our deepest thinkers continually anticipate global developments and Guyana's role in these; and a strong modern autonomous Statistical Services, with which to provide the necessary data for making intelligent decisions.
The University of Guyana directly and through university international networking will play a pivotal role in research, consultancy and technology transfer in its relationship with the governmental structure.
National Commissions/Task Forces
We plan to set up a number of National Commissions/Task Forces to provide public solutions for many of the complex problems that we face. These will be led by highly skilled professionals and empowered in a broad way to involve the public in the search for solutions. Our immediate priorities are:
1. Poverty Reduction
3. The Major Traditional Sectors
6. Social Policy
7. Tax Reform
Regional and Local Government
Because of the fundamental roles communities play in our society, effective and responsive regional and local government structures are absolutely essential. At present many of these institutions lack adequate human, financial and material resources. They are also riven with strife and cronyism. We intend to radically re‑structure regional and local government in keeping with best practices elsewhere and our vision of inclusiveness and participation.
Public Sector Management and Reform
Far‑reaching challenges are raised by the priorities of the reform agenda for the way the public service is structured and organized. We intend to address this through a programme of public sector reform and modernization that involves all the stakeholders directly: government, workers, unions, NGO's, and communities.
Institutional reform, along the lines indicated above is expected make three major contributions to our development.
1. It would make for a more efficient and effective national incentive and regulatory framework. Unless incentives are in place to promote the best use of resources, this will not be attained. Unless also, a regulatory framework is there to protect against those who would abuse the market, the benefits of increased output will not be fairly distributed.
2. A modern institutional structure is an essential factor in promoting the efficiency and productivity of all the productive factors in Guyana.
3. Finally, improved institutions, lead to enhanced participation and transparency. This allows for development by the people, for the people, and with the people.
The PNC REFORM government will place high priority on transforming, modernising and diversifying the Guyana economy to render it relevant and competitive in the global market place. In this process of change, PNC REFORM policy will be directed at inducing growth by achieving higher levels of productivity and competitiveness, while simultaneously promoting entry into new, lucrative areas of economic activity.
The PNC REFORM’s objective is to secure growth primarily through private initiative. It sees the role of government as a catalyst for constructive change, facilitator of economic activity and provider of the regulatory framework which creates conditions of opportunity, fair competition and general order in the market.
The thrust of the PNC REFORM policy will be to unfetter the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of the individual Guyanese, thereby achieving true economic empowerment.
Broad Macro Economic Objectives
§ To optimise competitiveness of the goods and commodity producing sectors
§ To build on unique strengths of the people and the country, such as creativity, cultural diversity, natural beauty and strategic location to expand the economy into service and knowledge based activity
§ To actively promote quality, efficiency and service
§ In partnership with the private sector, to engage in aggressive export marketing of locally produced goods and services
§ To attract a mix of local and foreign capital investment in infrastructure and the productive sectors; specifically, we will mobilise the resources of overseas based Guyanese for development
§ To redefine the role of government and redirect its activity towards the functions of facilitator of economic activity and creator of an environment where entrepreneurship, innovation and fair competition can thrive. In so doing, the PNC REFORM government will balance the interest of the investor and the general public by recognising the right of the public to quality, service and fair pricing, while at the same time supporting the right of the investor to a reasonable rate of return if reasonable marketing standards are achieved
§ To facilitate the formation of a social partnership with organized labour and private sector employers to ensure that labour, capital, raw materials and ancillary inputs such as energy are efficiently employed in production
§ To create quality jobs, especially for young persons
§ To make strategic use of our natural resource base
§ To develop a thriving micro ‑enterprise and small business sector that is fully integrated into the economy
§ To improve the efficiency of support infrastructure such as transportation systems and government services
Strategies for Achieving Macro Economic Objectives
§ The legislative programme of the PNC REFORM administration will include submission of the National Development Strategy to public and legislative debate upon assuming office and, in conjunction with the Social Partners, the drafting of an investment policy reinforced by appropriate legislation and administrative reforms.
§ Amendments to Insolvency legislation to provide a better framework for resuscitating ailing enterprises, amendments to existing company legislation to provide fully for the special needs of "small businesses" and "micro-enterprises" and new copyright and patenting legislation will also be introduced.
New Institutions To Support Attainment of Macro‑Economic Objectives
§ The PNC REFORM government will establish National Productivity Council. This is a think tank with membership drawn from the Private Sector, Public Sector, Trade Unions, the University of Guyana and other skills training and tertiary institutions. The objective of the National Productivity Council will be to recommend policy initiatives and devise strategies to achieve greater efficiency and competitiveness in the Guyana economy.
§ The PNC REFORM government will establish Guyana Investment Bureau to replace Goinvest. The Bureau will be an Executive Agency with one‑stop capability and modern information capability. Our institutional Reforms including the restructuring of government will greatly facilitate this transition.
§ A Development Bank will be an essential institution in the reform of our economy. Such an organisation will serve as a catalyst for specialised development projects as well support development loans to "small businesses" and "micro-enterprises".
§ The PNC REFORM will foster the expansion and decentralization of institutions providing micro level and small business financing
On assuming office, the PNC REFORM will undertake a review of fiscal policy to identify resources to enable it to implement its priority programmes. This review will focus both on the expenditure and revenue generating sides of the equation. Its aim will be to make the delivery of government services more cost efficient by eliminating wasteful practices and corruption, while at the same time simplifying the tax code and making the collection system more efficient and relevant to national priorities.
The new government will pursue its privatisation programme and examine the benefits of corporatisation of some of its service delivery operations to reduce the overall cost of government, thereby releasing additional resources to pursue its constructive socioeconomic agenda. In addition, it will seek to increase accountability for government resources by reducing its reliance on the consolidated fund for social spending. It will establish new mechanisms, such as the National Housing Institute for this purpose. This institute will be funded by a combination of employee contributions, private investment and funds made available under the Heavily Indebted Poor Country Initiative. Under this system, accountability will be increased, because revenue and expenditure streams will be identifiable, targeted and simple to account for. As far as possible, resource allocation will be on a programme basis with clearly defined parameters for performance measurement.
It is the intention of the PNC REFORM government to pursue the prudent application of fiscal stimuli to the economy to accentuate private corporate and individual activity in areas such as human capital investment, infrastructure development, investment in targeted productive sectors, savings accumulation and Foreign Exchange generation and retention.
The reform of the tax system will be informed by the government's desire to achieve reasonableness, equity, transparency and efficiency in tax administration. With the advent of globalisation, import duty rates will decline. The PNC REFORM will urgently examine the replacement of the current consumption tax regime with a Value Added Tax. The government will exercise care to ensure that it discharges its social responsibility to children, the aged and the poor by incorporating exemptions from Value Added Tax on items such as non‑luxury foods, medicines and other essential goods.
Upgrading The Capital Market
The PNC REFORM government will mobilise private capital through the offering of appropriate incentives to expand modernise and diversify the economy. A fully functioning Securities Exchange will be one of the important vehicles for mobilising private capital for this purpose, since it will provide an equitable and easily accessible opportunity for participation in private sector activity by a wide cross-section of the society. Enforcement of strict Security Exchange rules will also provide a benchmark for management conduct and board room transparency. This will tend to raise public confidence in the private sector and improve business practice. An efficient Capital Market is a pre‑requisite for Guyana's entrance to the global economy. We also believe that a functioning Security Exchange Market will provide the vehicle for investment by non‑resident Guyanese in the Guyana economy. The PNC REFORM government will accord high priority to full participation of non‑resident Guyanese in the local economy.
National Programme In Information Technology
One of the first objectives of the Ministry of Science and Technology will be to establish a national programme in information technology. Because of its importance, this programme will be subjected to wide public debate before it is implemented. It will include the following elements: ‑ expanding and popularising internet access in personal and business transactions, skills training program in the public and private sector and close articulation with the technology initiatives in the human resource sector.
Development Of The Business Culture
In recognition of its belief that expansion of the small‑business and micro‑enterprise sectors will play major role in macro-economic expansion and employment generation, ‑ the PNC REFORM government will place great emphasis on the development of a business culture and a spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship in the nation. This will be linked to the reform of the secondary curricula and increase emphasis on on‑the‑job and close‑to-the‑job training.
The PNC REFORM government will continue the privatisation programme that was first started under the Economic Recovery Programme. Generally, it is the policy of the PNC REFORM that commercial activity is best left to the private sector.
As a matter of public policy, the PNC REFORM government will seek to secure the widest possible resident and overseas Guyanese participation in privatised companies. Where appropriate, private interests bidding for these companies will be influenced to offer shares to employees or the general public through General Share Ownership Plans.
The PNC REFORM will privatize ALL state owned media.
Education: The Diagnosis
The education system, in its present state and level of capacity, is inadequate to the task of taking Guyana forward. Guyana's future development must be viewed in the context of the relatively limited capacity for economic growth based on primary products and extractive industry. Since the modern economy is heavily biased towards high levels of worker skill and information technology in managerial and technological resources, it follows that our efforts should be focused on:
§ The capacity of our work force to compete in that knowledge based economy
§ Measures to achieve higher required levels of labour efficiency, and
§ Strategies to develop modern flexible work habits and organization
The PNC REFORM Vision
The Education system in Guyana will be visualised and managed as a vital part of the economic programme and treated as the human resource aspect of that programme.
§ It must derive and implement a drive towards clear and quantifiable standards of performance and clear standards of proficiency and competency.
§ It must also have as a base for policy, meaningful standards of accountability for the major stakeholders including teachers and administrators as well as communities and higher education and training institutions.
We are convinced that the enhancement of human capital lies at the heart of the economic vision articulated in our economic programmes. Thus the reform of the education system will be at the forefront of the political and administrative agenda of the PNC REFORM. Human resource development for Guyana will be the mechanism for social transformation by the empowerment and enhancement of individual and community capabilities.
It will also enable greater access to and participation in cultural and leisure activity. This will be achieved by the investment in and the improvement of human, social and cultural capital.
The PNC REFORM strategy will employ a participatory approach. The reorganisation drive from the collaborating ministries will be complemented by bottom‑up reform, mobilising the collaboration of community-based organizations, teacher organizations and parents and youth institutions.
Priorities for the PNC REFORM Education Agenda
§ A holistic and comprehensive focus on a core of policy issues and a rationalisation of the current plethora of disconnected donor driven projects
§ The Output of the Primary Cycle, particularly in terms of basic literacy and numeracy must be the overriding focus for the allocation of resources and the implementation of projects
§ The Output of Secondary Schools in terms of acquisition of skills and attitudes necessary for competitiveness; emphasis will be placed on developing foreign language skills
§ The rationalization of Teacher training and higher education including expanded on‑the‑job and close‑to‑the‑job training.
§ Reforming teaching methodology to include greater access to InfoTech resources
§ Education for science and technology development and Technical Vocational and Higher Education
§ Education for Skills, Craft, and Culture
§ Opportunities for children and Youth at Risk in the most deprived socio‑economic areas
§ Modernisation of system of Accountability and strengthening of the planning and implementation capacity.
§ Research, Technology transfer, and University Reform
Systematic PNC REFORM Programmes
1. Enhancing the Educator Morale. PNC REFORM will enhance the career and salary structure of the teaching profession to bring it into line with modern conditions. This will include a package of special incentives and new programmes for teacher recognition.
2. Modernising the Instructional Technology in literacy and numeracy. PNC REFORM will implement a successor to the PEIP (Primary Education Improvement Programme) to replace the one that has been so badly mismanaged.
3. Popularising Science and the New Technologies. We believe that the work of transforming our people and increasing labour competitiveness must be supported by programmes to create awareness and support for the kind of social transformation envisaged in this programme for reform.
4. Reorganising the Institutional and Implementation Structure. The system will need to adopt modern methods of management including the widespread use of information technology to reduce the administrative burdens on schools and departmental managers.
5. Strengthening the Technology Transfer/ Research Infrastructure PNC REFORM will manage a radical reform of the higher education sector to make it more relevant to the needs of the 21st century. The university will be given strategic linkage to the modern sectors through a Science and Technology Park that will be a joint venture with government, local and foreign investors alongside the university.
6. Strengthening the capacity in technology training. PNC REFORM will place greater emphasis on technical and vocational education for young people. We will also ensure that investors and other social partners contribute to the technical and vocational education sector to make it more relevant to the modern economy.
7. PNC REFORM will put special emphasis on special education through the mainstreaming of persons with physical and other disabilities so that they can have modern educational opportunities and an equal chance at participation in the modern economy.
8. Reorganising Professional Training and Development will require the radical overhaul of teacher training institutions to bring about a closer link between then Faculty of Education and CPCE, to make greater use of distance education modalities, to give greater priority to InfoTech and computer assisted learning.
9. Providing education to Special Needs Groups through alternative opportunities is a vital aspect of social transformation. Second‑Chance‑Training for Young People. PNC REFORM will introduce a special programme for out‑of‑school youth so that they can be better prepared for employment and small business activity. This will be implemented with the collaboration of relevant social partners.
10. Education for strengthening the cultural base through co-curricular programming. The current disgraceful state of physical education, sport, and co‑curricular activity in our schools will be treated as an emergency.
11. Reforming the Accountability/Inspectorate Infrastructure in social sectors including that in education will be necessary for the reform agenda to take root.
Rediscovering Community and Transforming Housing and Health Care
Rekindling the Sense of Community
The PNC REFORM is concerned that the sense of "community", which has traditionally pervaded Guyanese society, is steadily being eroded.
The new government will enlist the help of Multi‑lateral Lending Agencies, the international donor community, nongovernmental organizations, international foundations, religious organizations and the international academic and social research community acting in conjunction with the University of Guyana to address this issue.
The government will commission research and consultation to derive a comprehensive, practical and affordable Human Development Programme.
With the assistance of the donor community, charitable foundations and university network, the local government structure will be given support to implement the Human Development Programme, acting as a catalyst to assemble skills and finance for the programme
Our housing programme will be based on the creation of viable communities rather then arbitrary award of house lots.
The PNC REFORM will initiate urgent action to address the problems of rural and urban squatting. A survey and census of squatting areas will be undertaken and a programme will be implemented to install basic infrastructure either at current locations or on alternative settlements to which squatters are to be relocated. Relocation will be arranged in a humane and consultative manner putting an end to the callous eviction practices of the PP/PCivic government.
Many citizens in Guyana live under cramped and over‑crowded housing conditions. Recent governments have failed to implement public housing programmes to relieve congestion caused by migration to urban and some rural centres. Additionally, many middle and lower income homeowners have been unable to afford necessary investment in maintenance and renewal of housing units. This has led to a decline in the quality of shelter and a general pattern of depreciating property values among large sectors of society.
The PNC REFORM recognises that deteriorating living conditions experienced by important sectors are impacting negatively on the quality of life of the population and restricting worker productivity. On assuming office, as a socially responsible government, the PNC REFORM will devise and implement creative means to alleviate the relative unavailability of adequate, affordable housing. The approach of the PNC REFORM government will be multi faceted. It will address the particular issues of availability of affordable new housing in structured communities.
Targets of the strategy
§ Inner city dwellers
§ Rural village dwellers
§ Resident Guyanese middle income and low‑income families
§ Overseas Guyanese seeking to make real estate investments for themselves either as returning residents before retirement or as returning retirees, and those investing in remodeling or construction of new homes for family members who are resident in Guyana
The provision of shelter to the poor and dis‑possessed qualifies for funding under the HIPIC initiative. The PNC REFORM government will devote considerable resources to the building of low cost housing for the poor and to urban and rural renewal of population centers.
In addition, the government will actively encourage non‑resident Guyanese to invest in the housing renewal and construction programme for the benefit of themselves and family members who are resident in Guyana. They will be encouraged to open deposit accounts in Building Societies and Credit Unions; to invest in specially designed instruments, and to purchase deposit certificates with the Guyana Housing Institute which will qualify the holder for credits with the institution. A menu of fiscal incentives will be offered for such investment.
Guyanese residents and overseas based Guyanese will also be encouraged to make deposits for the purpose of investing in housing stock.
A Guyana Housing Institute
The government will establish a Guyana Housing Institute (GHI) to be funded from a combination of payroll contributions, private investment, support from the Social Investment Facilities of Multi‑lateral Institutions; and specifically in the case of low income housing, funds generated under the HIPIC and enhanced HIPIC initiatives. Initially, the Housing Institute will offer low cost loans to middle and lower income earners (determined through means testing) to improve and upgrade the existing housing stock. The scope of works and designs will be done in collaboration with the Central Housing and Planning Authority. Contractors and artisans will need to be registered with the Institute. Registration will attract a fee and there will be an pproval process on the basis of competence or certification.
As the Housing Institute funding grows it be expanded to finance "build on own land", "starter home" proposals and joint venture construction of new residential schemes.
All construction in which GHI participates will be required to contain a minimum level of local materials input.
Credible administrative arrangements will be put in place to ensure that the operation of the GHI is fair, equitable and non‑partisan.
Public/Private Partnerships for Housing Construction
The PNC REFORM government will actively foster the formation joint venture and Public/Private partnerships to pursue housing development in suburban and rural areas. International partners will provide financing and new technology in construction methods such as prefabricated construction and the use of "forms". Relationships will be developed with public and private sector agencies from appropriate external institutions. Where appropriate, self‑help methods in housing construction will be encouraged.
Companies which access a predetermined proportion of offshore financing and are involved in technology transfer and cost efficient construction practices will qualify for a package of fiscal incentives.
Specific industry welfare funds, such as the Sugar Industry Welfare Fund will be encouraged to participate in joint venture and Public Private Partnership housing development under this scheme for the benefit of their members.
The PNC REFORM government will establish a Land Bank into which it will invest parcels of State Lands that can be made available on highly concessionary terms for middle and lower income housing development by private developers throughout the country.
Urban Renewal and Beautification
PNC REFORM government will implement a programme to promote urban renewal and beautification of residential areas throughout the country. The National Parks Commission will be institutionally strengthened to promote beautification in public and residential areas.
Laws as they pertain to mortgages and real estate development will be modernised and upgraded to offer the required level of protection to mortgagees and the general pubic.
Amerindian and Hinterland Communities
The PNC REFORM puts a high value on the interests and welfare of the hinterland communities aid in particular, the concerns of the Amerindian communities.
§ The PNC REFORM will make innovative ministerial arrangements to ensure the multi sectoral treatment of hinterland development issues. The response of government to hinterland problems will be of highest priority.
§ We will also create an Amerindian Development Council with non‑partisan capacity to deal with Amerindian issues. The indigenes land rights of the hinterland communities will be given recognition in the dealing with the land use and land allocation in the hinterland.
The Amerindian Council will be consulted and involved in all development projects which affect their and environmental conditions.
Health Care Reform
Access to an adequate and effective health care system is another vial aspect of Social Transformation. PNC REFORM Government will return to its strategies of free health care for all Guyanese regardless of their income levels and the location of their communities. We will build a health care system that is caring and professional, emphasising both preventative and curative health policies.
Our programme will include:
§ Increasing the number and quality of all categories of health care workers by placing more emphasis on staff training and skill upgrading and on improving remuneration and other conditions of work in the medical profession
§ Placing emphasis on preventative health care by allocating more government resources to public education, sanitation issues and school feeding programmes.
§ Investigating the nutritional status of children and adults to identify nutritional deficiencies and implement appropriate remedies.
§ Improving the system of procurement and distribution of drugs and equipment to the regional public health care system.
§ Responding adequately to such medical crises as AIDS, infant mortality, malaria outbreaks and substance abuse.
§ Making full use of the modern facilities at the Accident and Emergency Ward.
§ Reviewing the areas of jurisdiction and improving the coordination between the Ministry of Health and the local government bodies in the management of the health care system.
§ Enacting new health legislation in areas such as food storage and handling, environment and sanitation to make all legislation relevant to current situations and trends
Youth and Gender Issues
Enhancement Of Life For Young Guyanese
The PNC REFORM believes that social transformation includes as an important element the provision of opportunity for participation in sport, and cultural and recreational activity. These activities not only enrich the lives of our young people but also provide support for the inculcation of appropriate values of social concern, self-discipline and patriotism.
Our programme in cultural development will include the resuscitation of the national festivals including GUYFESTA, the resuscitation of the national dance company and dance school and the provision of governmental support for the expansion of professional sectors in drama, music visual art and recording and filmmaking.
Sports and recreation will be on the front burner of government concerns. The reestablishment of vibrant sports associations, interschool sports competitions, and an emphasis on the projection of Guyana once again as a regional power in such sports as boxing, squash, chess, football, cricket, athletics and table tennis.
The PNC REFORM government wants to return sports and recreation back to the national agenda for three main reasons:
* As port of our efforts to create a healthy and happy lifestyle for all Guyanese.
* To give our young people the opportunities to keep fit, focused and active in an organized way.
* To make Guyana a regional and international sporting power, thereby regaining our national pride
To achieve these goals, the PNC REFORM administration will:
Take sports off the streets. We will build a network of sports and recreational facilities across the country. We will supplement the Lotto fund and seek assistance from international sports associations to build, in our first term, well equipped gyms, sports grounds, parks, courts, and training facilities in communities and schools.
Provide financial and other support to local sports associations based on their submission of annual programs.
Implement measures to make sports gear and equipment affordable.
Rebuild the stock of sports coaches and trainers.
Promote sports as an integral part of the curricula of schools. We will consider using re‑equipped community centres and grounds as sports venues for schools in the surrounding neighbourhood.
Other Youth Oriented Prognmmes
That our population is a young one is now a cliche. Close to 70% of our population are under the age of 35. Many of our policies in such areas as education, job creation and sports will directly benefit youths. The PNC REFORM, however, will also ensure, as a matter of priority, that a National Youth Policy is tabled in Parliament after broad-based consultation with young people across the country. We will support the incorporation of measures to deal with:
§ The creation of conditions for young people to follow their dreams and realise their full potential in all areas of endeavour including business pursuits, sports, arts and culture, and academics.
§ The provision of easy to finance and training to start and manage private business ventures
§ The creation of conditions for the formation and re‑emergence of youth clubs and associations such as the National Youth Council.
§ The involvement of young people in government decision-making at all levels
§ The social and other causes of teen‑age pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse, suicides and HIV infection
Gender Issues And Development
Social and economic transformation includes as an essential base the equitable development of both mem and women. The PNC has a proud record of promoting through legislative and other means, the participation and welfare of Guyana women. The PNC REFORM will continue in this tradition by fully complying with all constitutional and international provisions and protocols that speak to gender issues. This compliance will involve:
§ Continuing the work towards ending discrimination based on gender
§ Introducing measures and developing attitudes that will reduce sexual harassment and other forms of sexual victimisation in workplaces, social club, minibuses, etc.
§ Removing the remaining barriers to the promotion and mobility of women in the workplace.
§ Working with the private sector to establish and support community day care centers for children to ensure women able to fully participate in the economy
In addition, issues related to gender participation especially in education and training will be specifically researched and addressed.
Transforming Our Traditional Industries
PNC REFORM is committed to the modernisation and vibrant survival of the sugar industry and will proceed in a constructive and consultative manner in dealing with this vital sector.
1. The PNC REFORM will commission a broad based review of the existing studies to determine the range of options available for the future of the sugar industry.
2. We will involve all the appropriate social and economic partner including the unions represented in the industry and the communities directly affected by its welfare in developing a viable and consensual programme for the industry.
3. The government that it forms will work actively with Guysuco to bring greater efficiencies to the industry by improving quality, increasing value added products and reducing the cost of production.
As part of the Economic Recovery Programme, the former PNC government, prior to demitting office in 1992, embarked on a plan that was designed and was being implemented in close collaboration with stakeholders in the rice sector, to deregulate, rationalise, strengthen and expand the rice industry. This induced growth in the industry and coupled with very favourable export prices and high demand in traditional protected markets, caused the industry to flourish between 1991 and 1996.
The massive increase in acreage under cultivation and by extension total yields was as a result of the foundation laid by the Economic Recovery Programme. The PPP/C reaped the benefits of the foundation that was laid by the ERP and rice flourished in Guyana up to 1997.
Unfortunately, the planned and coordinated approach to the rice industry of the former PNC government was undone with the policies of rampant politicisation, wastefulness and direct neglect by successive PPP/Civic governments. These, together with the removal of protection for Guyana's rice exports and the neglect of the Drainage and Irrigation infrastructure have brought severe crisis to the rice industry and untold hardship to all rice growing communities.
The PNC REFORM recognises the rice industry not only as the economic bed‑rock of rural Guyana, but also as an industry whose vibrancy is pivotal to the well‑being of the nation as a whole. The industry has given economic and social life to many rural communities, value to land, a livelihood to families, education and a future for their children. The PNC REFORM believes Rice can continue to play significantly role and therefore, immediately on assuming of fine, the PNC REFORM government will act to resuscitate the rice industry and place it on‑a secure growth path for the future. This will involve a planned, holistic approach which will include the following initiatives:
§ Introduction of mechanisms to refinance existing commercial debt of farmers and millers to significantly reduce their current debt obligations.
§ Establishment of a window in the Guyana Development Bank to offer pre‑crop financing to growers, and trade financing to exporters in co‑lending schemes with commercial banks at concessionary rates of interest.
§ Introduction of a crop insurance scheme to protect farmers partially against losses due to natural disasters.
§ A complete assessment of the state of Drainage and Irrigation systems and Sea Defences
§ Immediate action to repair defective sluices and outlets
§ Development and implementation of a long‑term programme to manage and maintain Drainage and Irrigation and Sea Defence infrastructure
§ Repairing and rebuilding farm to market access roads
§ The establishment of a Rice Development Council to include all stakeholders in the industry (farmers, millers, exporters, providers of support services, e.g. research and input suppliers, and lending agencies). This Council will be a Think Tank to plan strategies to ensure long‑term profitability and growth.
§ Implementation of a programme to aggressively market Guyana's rice and value‑added products in the Caribbean, Central and South America and Europe.
§ Provision of stable financing and institutional strengthening of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB).
§ Introduction of special varieties of rice, which with the introduction of special Vitamin A supplements, will be used in the manufacture of animal feeds in Guyana and other CARICOM states.
§ Initiating research and offering encouragement to private sector manufacturers, for the downstream use of rice in food manufacturing using improved and patented technology already existing in Guyana.
§ Encouragement of links between rice cultivation and aquaculture based on the utilization of the by‑products of the rice industry
The PNC REFORM government will implement strategies aimed at revitalizing this sub‑sector. The emphasis will be on taking a market driven approach to production to ensure that producers in the sub‑sector derive improved income for their labour. The focus will be on:
§ Export marketing
§ Matching production levels to market size
§ Generating higher yields; agro processing for value added
§ Reducing waste
§ Integration of the entire marketing process from research through production to final sale for efficiency
The PNC REFORM's agriculture policy will focus on food security for Guyana's population and foreign exchange savings and earning. This will include:
§ A project to structure a sustainable export marketing programme to the resident and tourist markets in the Caribbean; expatriate Guyanese and consumers of exotic tropical fruits and vegetables in North America and Europe.
§ A small farmer precrop financing scheme in the proposed Guyana Development Bank. Eligibility for participation will be based on objective production and loan servicing criteria
§ Upgrading and amalgamating research and extension functions within the Ministry of Agriculture; forging of research links with international institutions, and as a priority, the use of modern technologies at all levels of the sector.
§ Development to an apiculture industry for the export of honey as a natural means of pollination in areas where organic farming is practiced.
§ The negotiation of contract arrangements with air and sea carriers to Europe, North America and the Caribbean to provide regular, cost‑efficient cargo transportation for agricultural exports.
§ Developing large‑scale agriculture as a ribbon development activity associated with Guyana 21 infrastructure
This‑ industry will need to be restructured both in terms of its infrastructure, its human capacity and the key institutions to make it more efficient and productive; build the export markets, and improve income levels of farmers. Strategies will include:
§ Encouragement of joint venture investment with European, American and Caribbean interests, rehabilitation of the veterinary diagnostic facilities, the re‑establishment of artificial insemination capacity and the inclusion of livestock farmers' interests amongst the priorities for micro enterprise financial support for small livestock farmers under the aegis of the Guyana Development Bank
The PNC REFORM government will collaborate with the private sector to develop the aquaculture sub‑sector, by fostering the development of both fish and crustacean farming. Linkage with the by‑products of the rice industry will be emphasized.
Additionally the government will introduce measures to protect the long-term viability of offshore fishing for the exclusive benefit of the local population and the Guyanese economy. Elements of the policy include:
§ Incentives and support for private sector investment in fish farming.
§ Collaboration between private exporters and Guyana Promotions to build quality and brand recognition for Guyana’s fish and shrimp exports to Caribbean region
§ Adequate protection for Guyanese fishermen from piracy and harassment
Within one year of assuming PNC REFORM government will publish a Manufacturing Protocol. This policy paper, which will be developed following full consultation with the business community and the general public, will detail a National Policy on Manufacturing (NPM):designed to revolutionize manufacturing in Guyana in the age of globalisation. The NPM will focus as a priority on manufacturing linked to domestic production of primary products. It will stress attainment of international standards of design and quality, manufacturing efficiency and competitiveness. Foreign investment in manufacturing enterprises will be encouraged, particularly where foreign investors can demonstrate that they have integrated marketing channels for export distribution. The Guyana Securities Exchange will be an important source of equity and working capital for attractive, marketable projects.
The development of the non‑bauxite mining sector will be characterised by the development of a number of new industries based on proven mineral resources, the expansion of gold and diamond mining and the expansion of quarrying operations.
Consideration will be given to revisiting the plan to establish a plant at Ituni or elsewhere in Region 10 for the processing of kaolin deposits that are found there. Our white sands are to be more systematically exploited and will form the basis of a glass industry, initially concentrating on sheet glass and table glass for our housing programme. Quarry production will also be increased in order to meet the requirements of the road building, sea defence and housing programme.
The PNC REFORM recognises the important contribution of the traditional artisanal and small‑scale miner. We will move quickly to protect their legal status and to enable them to access appropriate financing for their operations. To give a boost to the gold and diamond industries, fuel distribution systems will be significantly improved to emphasise the greater carrying capacity of the water and land transport.
The PNC REFORM Government will actively market Guyana's enormous mineral potential internationally, offering extremely competitive incentive packages to investors. Special showcase events will be arranged in cities with a concentration of mining/exploration companies in the USA, Canada and the UK primarily to promote mineral investments in Guyana. The services of an International Marketing and PR Company specialising in the mining sector will be engaged on a performance related basis to attract mining and exploration companies to Guyana.
Value added production using Guyanese minerals and skills would be encouraged. We will assist local companies to find suitable Joint Venture partners able to advise on product design and standards for international markets as well as the techniques to be employed for penetrating them.
The contribution of the bauxite industry to development will be related to our strategy of raising production and achieving greater diversification within the sub‑sector.
To realize the first part of our strategy emphasis will be placed on attracting multinationals to develop new large‑scale metallurgical bauxite operations which are consistent with their modus operandi and necessary for their economic operation. This approach recognizes that the two state‑owned companies would not be able to utilise the country's demonstrated vast bauxite resources and would be unable to raise on their own, the finance required to increase their operations to the scale needed for the economic exploitation of these resources.
The development of the sector based on the existing state‑owned companies will be characterized by the development and production of a diversified range of bauxite products with Linmine producing RASC and homogenized high alumina products and Bermine, metallurgical, chemical and abrasive bauxite.
Accordingly, the focus for the long‑term development of the country's bauxite resources will be on widening the range of bauxite products in order to exploit existing market opportunities. Efforts to privatise the state‑owned companies will continue as other initiatives are employed to ensure the state-owned industry operates profitably. To this end joint ventures with local and foreign private investment will also be actively encouraged.
As part of a holistic Forestry Plan, focus will be placed on building Value Added Timber Industry. The objective will be to increase revenue and exports from timber operations by assisting them to enter into and maximize down stream value-added production. This will involve:
§ Revisiting banking practices, debt guarantee mechanisms and other options to facilitate access to working capital at commercial rates.
§ Ensuring access to a wide international market for our exportable timber products; priority will be given to modernizing and expanding kiln drying facilities. Research will be carried out into the use of wood waste as fuel for wood drying ovens and the feasibility of establishing a number of units using this technology in locations central to the saw milling industry.
§ Assisting in the arrangement of joint‑venture partnerships with foreign timber manufacturers and industrial users.
§ Developing strategies to work with forest producers to explore ways and incentives to develop private corporate structures which can help family owned businesses enter joint ventures, expand their shareholder base and manage their companies with longer-term objectives.
§ Encouraging unprecedented levels of cooperation and joint field actions by GFC and timber producers. The Marketing function of GFC will be modified and a new small independent body introduced to market timber products. Initially the services of an international timber marketing expert will be engaged to identify markets for Guyana's timber products and advise the new marketing body on market penetration techniques.
§ Implementing the Forestry Plan jointly with forest producer, sawmill operators, housing authorities, private builders, banking sector to speedily remove some of the policy constraints slowing private construction of affordable housing i.e. lack of private land availability, titles and private financing.
The New Guyana Economy
The PNC REFORM believes that dynamic implementation of the strategies outlined above will stimulate the return of many Guyanese who will be able to contribute meaningfully to the massive developmental programme based on new investment in our economy.
Capitalising on Guyana’s Strategic Location
Guyana is blessed by being the only English‑speaking country in South America. Further, its strategic location and vast Essequibo River delta make it the perfect gateway for transporting goods and services into and out of the northern land‑locked regions of Brazil and the eastern areas of Venezuela.
The PNC REFORM administration has an entire battery of infrastructural projects lined up under the GUYANA 21, designed to facilitate Guyana's rapid growth by putting the necessary physical infrastructure in place to achieve this goal within the first five years.
The new government will work diligently to supplement this huge infrastructure modernisation plan with the appropriate macro‑economic policies and legislative framework to guarantee the attractiveness of Guyana‑based entrepreneurship.
GUYANA 21 in Detail
GUYANA 21 is the basic physical infrastructure necessary for sustainable economic growth in Guyana. Consisting of eight bridges and causeways, ten highways, a deep‑water harbour, a new modern international airport, an export processing zone (EPZ) in the Essequibo delta, a 300mile highway to Brazil and a 280‑mile highway to La Horqueta in Venezuela.
List of Planned Projects
§ High span bridge across Berbice River, and development of new commercial area.
§ 4‑Lane Highway connecting Georgetown to Soesdyke‑Linden Highway
§ High‑Span Bridge across the Demerara River
§ Highway from Soesdyke to Wales on the West Bank of Demerara
§ Highway from Parika to Monkey Jump on the East Bank of Essequibo
§ New International Airport
§ Series of bridges and causeways linking the islands in the Essequibo delta to Morasi and Supenaam
§ High span bridge across the Essequibo River at Monkey‑Jump
§ Highway from new International Airport to Makouria on the East Bank of Essequibo
§ Deep water harbour and free trade zone at the mouth of the Essequibo River (Hogg Island)
§ Highway f
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