THE BREAKDOWN OF LAW AND ORDER UNDER THE PPP/C: MURDER AND MAYHEM CONTINUES--PRESS STATEMENT Friday 8 October 2010




SUMMARY:
• The Leader and the members of the People’s National Congress Reform extend condolences to the families, relative and friends of Inderdat, brother of Central Executive member, Ms. Beni Prashad Rayman, and Ms. Gail Ann Hamilton, cousin of Mrs. Carol Corbin, wife of PNCR Leader, Mr. Robert Corbin, MP;
• Mrs. Viola Victorine Burnham was a glittering star in Guyana having achieved excellence and distinction in a wide variety of careers and accomplishments.
• The 53rd Anniversary of the People’s National Congress provides the opportunity for reflection on its illustrious past, assessment of its present and contemplation and planning for its future;
• The PNCR has noted and observed that there continues to be the alarming breakdown of law and order under the PPP/C regime;
• The PNCR urges all Guyanese, especially the unregistered young people of fourteen (14) years and above, to take advantage of this opportunity to become registered.

PNCR EXTEND CONDOLENCES TO THE FAMILIES OF INDERDAT AND GAIL ANN HAMILTON

The Leader and the members of the People’s National Congress Reform extend condolences to the families, relative and friends of Inderdat, brother of Central Executive member, Ms. Beni Prashad Rayman, and Ms. Gail Ann Hamilton, cousin of Mrs Carol Corbin, wife of PNCR Leader, Mr. Robert Corbin, M.P.

Death, we know, is a certainty. Once we are born death becomes an inevitability. Our lives are unpredictable. Our dreams can be unfulfilled regardless of age or sex. But we must take comfort in God’s word for the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord.

Ms. Rayman, who is an ardent PNCR executive member, has suffered this blow twice in one year, by the death of two brothers within the span of six months in this year. The Party is, therefore, particularly sad and share her grief for the passing of Inderdat.

The Party was shocked to learn of the unexpected and sudden death of young Gail Ann Hamilton, cousin of Mrs. Carol Corbin, who has been cut down in the prime of her youth.

May God grant them eternal rest and give the families, relatives and friends the faith and strength to carry on.

REMEMBERING VIOLA BURNHAM SEVEN YEARS LATER

Sunday 10 October 2010 will mark seven (7) years since Viola Victorine Burnham nee Harper, widow of President Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham, former Vice-President and Deputy Prime Minister, left us for the great beyond.

Ms. Burnham was a glittering star in Guyana having achieved excellence and distinction in a wide variety of careers and accomplishments.

Although she had been a member of the People’s National Congress and had served quietly as one of its researchers, her visible political life began when she married the then Prime Minister, L.F.S. Burnham in 1967. She was elected Vice-Chairman of the People’s National Congress Women’s Auxiliary (PNCWA), a position which assisted her “in getting her feet wet in politics”.

The United Nations had declared 1975, “International Women’s Year” and the first world Conference was held in Mexico City. The then Vice-Chairman of the PNCWA, and Prime Minister’s wife led the Guyana delegation to Mexico. This was the period of the changing of the guard and, in January 1976, the organisation was re-named the Women’s Revolutionary Socialist Movement (WRSM), with Viola Burnham as its National Chairman. This was Cde. Vi’s point of take off in active politics, a role she played until her retirement in 1991.

As a Women’s Rights advocate, she championed Equal opportunity for women. She led the fight to reform the legal system in relation to the laws of Guyana which affected women. Through her work the Desiree Bernard Committee was established to make the laws a reality. She was instrumental in the formation of the National Women’s organisation the Conference on the Affairs and Status of Women in Guyana (CASWIG) and the establishment of the Women’s Affairs Bureau (WAB).

On the International scene, she was instrumental in the formation of the Caribbean Women’s Association (CARIWA), of which she served as its first Vice President. She led delegations to the UN Decade Conferences, 1975 to Mexico, 1980 to Copenhagen Denmark, 1985 to Nairobi, Kenya and participated in the 1995 UN Conference in Bejing, China. Through her work the WRSM hosted delegations from the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Europe.

Ms. Burnham possessed a fine and highly trained intellect with a phenomenal grasp of the world of learning and language. She mastered details and had a passion for high standards. This capability served her in good stead in her public duties, in the Party and service of Guyana, as a Minister.

Viola Victorine Burnham was a lady, in the best and noblest sense of the word, refined, gracious and yet possessing the capacity to meet and understand the needs of citizens from all levels of Guyanese society.

She was the recipient of many awards for her contributions including awards from the Republic of Guinea and Bulgaria. She was awarded Guyana’s second highest award, the Order of Roraima.

The Party joins members of her family and friends in remembering this esteemed daughter of Guyana.

53RD ANNIVERSARY OF THE PEOPLE’S NATIONAL CONGRESS

The 53rd Anniversary of the People’s National Congress provides the opportunity for reflection on its illustrious past, assessment of its present and contemplation and planning for its future.

Fifty three years ago, 5th October 1957; the PPP Burnhamite, which emerged after the split in the original People’s Progressive Party, held a Congress at the Globe Cinema in Georgetown whereat it adopted the name – People’s National Congress. That Congress elected Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham as the Party’s First Leader with Joseph Pariag Latchmansingh as Chairman and Jai Narine Singh as General Secretary.

In an article entitled, “Where do we go from here?”, the Party Leader wrote the following:

“This Party started as a working class party and will never give up fighting for the workers, we will never and can never forsake them; the moment we do we had better arrange for our Political Funeral. But the fact that ours is a worker–based Party must not prevent us from having the intelligence to learn from the history of other countries and other liberation movements. We must be able and prepared to draw our strength not only from workers but from all sections of Guyanese, workers, farmers, businessmen, intellectuals and civil servants, regardless of race.”

This policy statement, on the national orientation of the PNC - now PNCR - remains as valid today as it was when uttered, by our Founder Leader, Mr. L.F.S. Burnham, on 16th April 1957.

Having assumed the reins of the Government, in December 1964, the PNC Administration, under the leadership of L.F.S. Burnham, moved quickly to bind up the societal wounds, which were created in the body politic, during the anti-colonial struggle, and to prepare the people for National Independence and eventual Republican Status within the Commonwealth of Nations.

Under the stewardship of successive PNC Administrations, between 1964 and 1992, Guyana experienced not only significant political and constitutional advance but also unprecedented nation building efforts in every aspect of human endeavour.

New institutions for the Nation’s Development and Defence were established: Financial institution such as the Bank of Guyana, the Guyana National Co-operative Bank (GNCB), the Guyana Co-operative Mortgage Finance Bank (GCMFB), the Guyana Agricultural and Industrial Development Bank (GAIDB); the Guyana State Corporation and the National Insurance Scheme (NIS); the Guyana Defence Force, the Guyana Youth Corps, the Guyana National Service, and the Guyana Peoples’ Militia, to guard and defend the new nation’s territorial integrity.

In education and culture, we saw the construction of: a new Teachers Training College; the University of Guyana campus at Turkeyen; the new Technical Institutes in Georgetown and New Amsterdam; new Multilateral Schools throughout the coastal belt, as well as President’s College, the “School of Excellence”; and the Critchlow Labour College.

Infrastructural development: in housing; potable water supply; sea and river defences; drainage and irrigation projects, in support of agriculture development at the MMA, Black Bush Polder, Tapakuma, and Boerasiri. There were major road networks development including: the Soesdyke/Linden Highway; the Corentyne Highway; the East Demerara/West Berbice Highway; the West Bank and West Coast Demerara highway; and roads developed on the East Bank Essequibo and Essequibo Coast. There was also the Demerara Harbour Bridge and the Canje Bridge.

In the area of social and cultural development, the policy of free education, from Nursery to University, was adopted. Many new cultural institutions and activities were inaugurated, including: Guyfesta; Carifesta; the National School of Dance; the Burrowes School of Arts; the National Cultural Centre; and the Theatre Guild Playhouse.

National religions holidays were recognised, in 1967, to celebrate our country’s rich religious and cultural diversity. Our indigenous peoples’ cultural heritage was recognized by the establishment of the Amerindian Languages Project at the University of Guyana. The Amerindian Lands Commission was appointed to demarcate the lands to be deeded to the various Amerindian communities throughout Guyana. Land titles were vested in the various Amerindian communities since 1976.

Meanwhile, at the Caribbean regional and wider international levels, Guyana became internationally recognised for its leadership role in every international fora wherein it exercised its membership - at the United Nations, the Commonwealth and the Non-Aligned Movement, in which it played a seminal role, during the decades of the 1970’s and early1980’s.

In our Caribbean region, Guyana, under the PNC Government, was one of the pioneers for the establishment of Carifta, the fore runner of the present Caribbean Community. Prime Minister Burnham was one of the four Founding Fathers who were the original signatories to the 1973 Treaty of Chaguramas which established the Caribbean Community and Common Market.

Eighteen years after demitting office, the PNC - now PNCR - has witnessed the almost reversal of its efforts at nation building, by a PPP/C Administration more interested in perpetuating itself in office, through selfish and partisan approaches to governance.

Political and racial discrimination had become the order of the day. There is widespread and entrenched corruption at all levels of the society. Insecurity has become the number one concern of the average citizen, due to widespread violence, springing from official collaboration with notorious criminals, linked to drug cartels and gun running outfits. The continuing violation of the human the rights of citizens, including the illegal and unconstitutional use of torture. The increasing violence, and widespread abuse of women and children. The seeming inability, of the state apparatus, to maintain law and order, in the society. All of the above developments have contributed, in no small measure, to the unpopularity of the regime.

Meanwhile, it is no secret that the young people of our country are once again looking to the People’s National Congress Reform to restore their faith in the future of Guyana, by the visionary leadership, of the kind experienced by their parents and grandparents, generations ago. Our young people yearn for the day when our nation building approach to governance can be resumed, whereby they would be able to foresee the bright future of a modern developed Guyana in which they and their offspring feel wanted and are able to play a meaningful role.

THE BREAKDOWN OF LAW AND ORDER UNDER THE PPP/C: MURDER AND MAYHEM CONTINUES

The PNCR has noted and observed that there continues to be the alarming breakdown of law and order under the PPP/C regime. The most recent horrors are evident in: the barbaric killing of sixteen year old Neesa Gopaul; the Friday 1st October 2010 gunning down of Mark Ceasar; and the Monday 4th October 2010 execution style killing of Patrick Goodluck and Godfrey Grootfaam.

Our Party expresses deep and sincere condolences to the families, relatives and friends of the deceased.

It is clear that this increasing criminality and lawlessness continues to reinforce the perception that the leadership of the Guyana Police Force - the Commissioner and the Crime Chief – seem incapable of arresting and bringing to justice the perpetrators of such heinous acts. Far too many murders remain unsolved.

The PNCR has noted the Wednesday 6th October 2010 article, published by the Kaieteur News, under the caption, “Ministry admits we failed her”, in which the Minister of Human Services and Social Security Minister, Priya Manickchand, is quoted as saying, “This matter was brought to our attention and we became involved with the aim of protecting this child but my officers failed to do effective follow-up,” …. “When the officers dealing with the matter encountered hurdles, they failed to follow procedures and report to their supervisors…we accept that all was not done and this is wholly unacceptable.” Minister Manickchand boldly promised that, “future disciplinary action will be taken against officers who fail to act and conduct their work in accordance with the written protocols of the Child Protection Act.”

What does the Minister intend to do now about those officers, in her Ministry, who clearly did not follow up on their duties? The Nation needs to know.

The PNCR believes that the deliberate and unashamed disregard for the Rule of Law, by senior members of the PPP/C Administration, has created an environment where many, in our society, now feel encouraged to display disrespect for the law. Remember the infamous throwing of the writ over the shoulder? And, more recently, the hit and run scandal?

The People’s National Congress Reform has always condemned criminality and wrong doing. The Party is, therefore, once again, pleading with the Government, the Guyana Police Force, and other members of the Joint Services, to demonstrate a greater resolve and commitment to fulfil their mandate to give Service and Protection for all Guyanese citizens. To the detriment of strengthening the crime fighting and security maintenance capabilities of the GPF, the Government and the Minister of Home Affairs have continued their stone walling tactics, since the receipt of the very clear recommendations for the reform of the Guyana Police Force, contained in the Disciplined Services Commission Report. The nation is reaping the bitter rewards for their dilatoriness.

It should be recalled that the PNCR has, since 2002, been calling for the Guyana Police Force and the PPP/C Administration to change its responses to murder and human rights abuses. In that regard, on 11th April 2002, the Party issued a statement captioned, “The Responses of the PPP/C Administration to Murder”, in which we pointed out, “One would have expected that a decent Government, faced with the allegations of brutal murder committed by state forces, would have taken tangible steps to demonstrate to the people that it recognizes the serious concerns of the people and was prepared to respond”. The Government’s continued resistance, of the many local and international calls for an Inquiry into the deaths of the hundreds of young men killed by officially supported Death Squads, is ample confirmation of reality that there are blood-stained hands that need to be kept fr4om the glare of independent investigation.

On Monday the 4th October 2010, the Stabroek News published an article captioned, “103 Murders up to the end of 3rd quarter – 20% above last year’s total”. Sadly and unfortunately, that figure had increased to 106, by Tuesday the 5th October 2010, with the killings of Patrick Goodluck, Godfrey Grootfam, and Linden McPherson whose body was, on Monday the 4th October 2010, discovered at Wismar Linden with a gunshot wound and other marks of violence. According to the same Stabroek News Article, “September has recorded the highest tally for the year – 17”. The article goes on to state that, “In 2009 there was one murder every 4 days. For the first three quarters this year (273 days) there has been one murder every two and a half days. An average of 11 killings has been reported every month this year. If this trend continues for the last quarter then there may be an approximate 40% increase in murders for this year when compared to the previous.”

Such statistics are alarming and unacceptable to the PNCR, and to the larger community, since they indicate that Guyana is heading down the road of a failed state. Children are losing parents, and parents are losing children. When will this killing season come to an end? There seem to be no respect for the sanctity of human life. Guyanese are justifiably concerned about their security. Meanwhile, the leadership of the GPF seem content to issue banalities, such as “leads being followed” and “investigations are ongoing”.

The Crime Chief, Seelall Persaud, has since stated that Patrick Goodluck, who was gunned down on Monday 5th October 2010, was one of the persons wanted for the Friday 1st October killing of Mark Ceasar.

In the present insecure environment, it is not surprising that a growing number of Guyanese, both young and old, do not consider Guyana any longer a safe place in which to live.

PNCR AGAIN URGES ALL GUYANESE TO BE REGISTERED

The Continuous Registration programme, being undertaken by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), commenced on 6th September 2010 and is expected to conclude on 31 December 2010.

Persons wishing to register are reminded that they would require an original Birth Certificate as the major source document for registration.

The PNCR urges all Guyanese, especially the unregistered young people of fourteen (14) years and above, to take advantage of this opportunity to become registered. If you were unable to register during the House-to-House Registration programme, you should visit the GECOM Office in your District with your source documents to ensure that you are registered on this occasion.

There are still many persons who were registered, during the House-to-House Registration programme, and have not yet collected their new National ID Cards. The Party urges you to do so without undue delay.

We know that many persons have complained that the photograph appearing on their new ID Card is unsatisfactory or that there are errors, such as the incorrect spelling of names or other defects. The PNCR advises those persons that GECOM has undertaken to replace unsatisfactory photographs and to correct other defects. Therefore, those persons are advised to take their new ID Card to the nearest GECOM Office and have them correct the defects on the new ID Card.

Registration is your right and duty!


People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia
Georgetown, Guyana
Friday 8 October 2010

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