New Years Day Address Hugh Desmond Hoyte, S.C. OR Friday 31 December 1999

The year 1999 has ended. Most Guyanese citizensare glad to see it go, for it was a year of far too many negative events that undermined our morale,
depressed our spirits, and diminished our sense of happiness.

It was a year when government workers were forced to wage a prolonged and bitter strike to force acynical government to pay them a decent wage.

It was a year in which escalating retrenchment, unemployment, poor business profits, bankruptcies and other economic hardship cast a shadow of despair
over the land.

It was a year of increasingly violent crimes, when dangerous bandits ran amok as they perceived the undermanned and underprovided police force to be
ineffectual. During 1999, we read and heard with increasing amazement and outrage the catalogue of evidence of fraud, illegalities and other irregularities that made a mockery of the national and regional elections of December 1997. This, together with government incompetence and institutionalised corruption, plunged our country deeper into the social, political and economic morass from which it shows no signs of extricating itself.

But let us not despair. All is not yet lost. There are still two lifelines on which the people of this country can pin their hopes for survival and eventual prosperity. The one is the process of Constitutional reform which has shown
to date some heartening progress. It is vital that this process be completed properly and timeously. Its completion, with the attendant new Elections Commission and the other electoral infrastructure, is an absolute necessity for fresh, credible elections to be held at latest by January 2001. Upon these elections will hang crucially the future stability and progress of our country. Guyana will not survive another round of mismanaged and fraudulent elections. All of us have an inescapable duty to work to prevent this.

The other lifeline of hope is the People's National Congress. The Party remains the only alternative government. Citizens are looking to it in overwhelming numbers for salvation from their wretched economic plight. It has therefore geared itself to resume the reins of government and redeem and restore Guyana. For many people the world over, the dawn of the year 2000 symbolizes a new hope and an opportunity for the onward march of human progress and well-being. But some people ask, "Is there hope for Guyana, any ground for optimism?" I firmly believe that there is; but that will depend upon the resolve, courage and self-confidence of the Guyanese people.

Given the correct policies and firm, sensible and honest leadership, we can, as a nation, return to a premier place among the countries of our region. It is all a question of good governance. This is what the PNC and I offer you for the New Year and the years ahead.

The People's National Congress therefore invites you to work with it in partnership in this noble task: to eradicate the ill-will, the spitefulness, the nepotism and the sheer ineptitude that have brought our country to the brink of
disaster. Let us resolve to expunge all these ugly features of government and regain a sense of security and the happiness of which we have been robbed.

Let us install arrangements under which our country will be governed on the basis of good laws and policies, under which preferment in the public service and national life will be based on merit; and under which the government
will deal with citizens in a fair, equitable and even-handed manner. These are all part of the scheme and climate of good governance to which my Party and I are committed and which we offer you as an alternative to the present
sad situation.

The power to change things for the better lies in our hands. We must decide in this New Year to use this power effectively to rid the country of the scourge of bad government that is inflicting so much harm on all of us. In other words, to make a radical change to ensure better conditions of life.

Let us resolve to commit ourselves to the strenuous, well-focused effort to bring about this change. We can make the change for the sake of ourselves, our children and our country, we must do it.

Let the year 2000, then, be for us a year in which we will work together to pull our country out of the pit of despair and, together, begin the work to restore its fortunes for the benefit of all our people.

I will not indulge in the usual platitudes at this time. I would urge you on to a serious task: to root out bad governance and all its unlovely consequences, to install a government that is honest, competent and fair, to redeem and restore
our country; and to give ourselves a real chance for happiness and sustained prosperity in the future.

Can we do it? Yes, we can, with the People's National Congress!

This is the New Year’s wish I extent to all Guyanese on behalf of the People's National Congress.

God Bless you all.