PRESS RELEASE By People’s National Congress Reform Thursday August 21, 2008 PNCR LEADERSHIP WILL NOT PARTICIPATE IN CARIFESTA X

The Leadership of the PNCR, having reviewed the current situation in Guyana, has seen no reason to change its position on CARIFESTA X as outlined in its Press Statement on April 24, 2008 and subsequent statements on May 23, June 20 and July 4, 2008. Consequently, the PNCR will lend no credibility or legitimacy to the present activities of the Jagdeo Administration and will not participate in any State Sponsored or Ceremonial event for CARIFESTA X.

On April 10, 2008, the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) stated that the current political, economic and social environment was not conducive to the hosting of CARIFESTA X. In that statement the Party said,

“Carifesta X is scheduled to take place in August. The Jagdeo Administration therefore has more than ample time to address these critical matters so that the appropriate environment can be created for the holding of this event. The First Carifesta was hosted proudly and successfully by Guyana under the PNC Administration led by Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham. The event was created to celebrate, display and promote Caribbean Culture. The Party therefore has a vested interest in ensuring that the event is not misused by the Political Administration or takes place in circumstances in which its cultural essence is tainted by the consequences of the dictatorial policies of the Jagdeo Administration.

Carifesta X must be held in an environment in which the Constitutional right to Freedom of Expression and the right to work are respected by the Government. There must be an immediate end to the suspension of the licence of CNS TV Channel 6; an end to the violation of the human rights of the citizens of Guyana; the release of Oliver Hinckson from Prison where he has been incarcerated on unsustainable charges and his trial being continuously postponed; an immediate short term programme to address the impact of the rising cost of living on the citizens of this country; real progress in addressing the deteriorating security situation; the enactment of Broadcast Legislation to end political control over the media and to establish an Independent National Broadcasting Authority; equitable access by the Parliamentary Opposition Parties to the state own media; and, an end to the Monopoly on Radio.

Any decent Government should find no difficulty in creating the appropriate environment if, indeed, they are anxious to highlight Guyana to the Caribbean and the world.”

The Party also stated that it would remain resolute until the Jagdeo Administration satisfactorily addresses the issues of concern. Regrettably, instead of addressing those concerns, the Jagdeo regime expended millions more than their original secret budgetary allocation of $500M on a massive publicity and PR campaign to market the event.

The reality is that the Jagdeo Administration, without any prior consultation with other Stakeholders in Guyana, including the Opposition Political Parties, unilaterally proceeded with the hosting of CARIFESTA X without addressing those major concerns of the majority of Guyanese. It is also very evident that the Government has no intention of addressing the issues of equitable access to state media, broadcast legislation, the state radio monopoly and the issue of good governance.

In the above circumstances the Leadership of the PNCR will not participate in any state sponsored event for CARIFESTA X.

Meanwhile, we welcome all artistes from the Caribbean and the Diaspora and wish them a pleasant stay in our beautiful country. You can be assured of our traditional Guyanese hospitality even in circumstances where the Jagdeo Regime refuses to respect the human rights and freedoms as enshrined in the Constitution of Guyana.

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia
Georgetown, Guyana.
Thursday August 21, 2008