PRESS RELEASE OPPOSITION PARTIES DISPATCH LETTER TO THE SECRETARY GENERAL OF UNITED NATIONS People’s National Congress Reform Congress Place, Sophia, Georgetown, Guyana. Friday, May 6, 2004

The Parliamentary Opposition Parties today, Friday, May 7, 2004 dispatched a letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan, requesting that he take such immediate steps as he deemed desirable to persuade the Government of Guyana to heed the reasonable call of the people of Guyana for the holding of an independent and impartial public inquiry into the serious state sponsored death squad allegations in Guyana.

The letter signed by the Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition, Mr. Robert Corbin on behalf of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Mr. Desmond Trotman on behalf of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) and Mr. Ravindra Dev on behalf of ROAR informed the Secretary General that his timely intervention would be of incalculable benefit for the creation of an environment that will ensure future peace and stability in Guyana, while instituting governance in accordance with accepted UN norms and values. They also requested the Secretary General to utilize the services of any United Nations agency that he deemed fit to undertake his own investigations into these allegations.

The Opposition Parties in their letter stated that it was their considered view that any inquiry into the death squad allegation must:

• be conducted by highly-regarded and respected persons of unblemished integrity and acceptable to major stakeholders in Guyana;
• be accompanied by a credible and secure witness protection program;
• allow a role for Caricom and other international organizations;
• have the power to take evidence in camera as well as in public;
• have the authority and resources to take evidence both inside and outside of Guyana as necessary.

These requirements they stated are essential for an inquiry that is consistent with internationally acceptable standards. Anything less would make the exercise a sham.

The Parliamentary Opposition Parties also advised the UN Secretary General that they were willing to mount, at short notice, a joint delegation to meet with him to explain more fully the details of the national crisis and its ramifications for the people of Guyana.

Because of ethical standards, other details of the letter and other documentation supplied to the Secretary General will not be released to the Media until the Parties are satisfied that the UN Secretary General has received them.

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana.
Friday, May 6, 2004