PRESS STATEMENT By The People’s National Congress Reform To The Press Conference, Thursday, August 26, 2004 Hall of Heroes, Congress Place, Sophia


The PNCR extends its condolences to the family of recent victims of violent crimes, including that of policeman, Omari Savoury. We are deeply concerned that the scourge of crime continues to terrify many communities and take the lives of innocent citizens. We have warned against short term approaches to dealing with this serious problem. The PNCR has repeatedly advocated that any approach to fighting crime (whether in Buxton or elsewhere) must address the root causes of the phenomenon. We had advanced the idea of community development projects in affected areas to generate jobs, opportunities and hope and to revive community spirit. We had advocated that the police expend it their energies in rebuilding police/community trust and cooperation. Our suggestions have been rebuffed in some quarters. Instead, the government has relied on brutal short-term measures, such as death squads and extra-judicial killings, to solve the rising crime wave.

Our policemen and other citizens continue to pay with their lives for this senseless approach to the problem.


THEME: Building a Platform for Peace, National Cohesion and Reconstruction

Over the coming three days, from the 27th to 29th August, 2004, the People’s National Congress Reform will convene its 14th Biennial Congress at Congress Place, Georgetown. The Biennial Congress is the highest decision-making forum of the Party. It is the occasion at which the Party’s leadership and membership collectively decide on organisation strategies and operational goals in line with the Party’s role as a major social and political stakeholder in the country. The expected intense participation of delegates at the Congress and the openness and inclusiveness of its forums will again amply demonstrate the deep democratic and change-oriented character of the Party.

Delegates and observers from all ten regions in Guyana are confirmed in their attendance. In fact, those from the far-flung Regions, 1, 7, 8 and 9 have already commenced traveling to Georgetown. Representatives from overseas party groups are also expected and some have already arrived. The Party anticipates attendance to be close to 900 delegates and observers on all three days, making this congress the largest in recent years. Not surprisingly, members and supporters have been working untiringly over the last few months to put in place the logistical, infrastructural, administrative and other arrangements to ensure a glitch-free event, as befitting the significance and magnitude of the occasion.

The theme chosen for this Congress is “Building a Platform for Peace, National Cohesion and Reconstruction”. The People’s National Congress Reform is committed to the view that Peace as an outcome of a just society is a necessary requirement if Guyana is to enjoy an atmosphere conducive to cohesion where all interests can work together for the reconstruction of our country which is in dire need of economic, social and spiritual rejuvenation as a basis for enhancing the well being of Guyanese. It is this rationale which informs the PNCR’s choice of the theme.

The program for the ceremonial opening session on Friday, August 27th commences at 5 pm and has as its main event the address by the Leader of the PNCR, Mr. Robert Corbin. Naturally, Mr. Corbin is expected to address the urgency of achieving the Party goals reflected in the choice of the Congress Theme. He will focus on where we are as a Party and as a country; what are the challenges we face and the opportunities we must seize. He is expected to emphasize the importance of the Party membership recommitting to the principles of inclusiveness and unity. He is expected to outline the strategic vision for the Party and the country.

The program for Day 2 will include the report of the General Secretary. But importantly, it will also have workshops, question and motions sessions, and plenary sessions at which delegates will have full opportunities to make their inputs and shape Party decisions.

The main event on Day 3 is the election of new party officers and executive members. All offices, including that of the Party leader, are open for contestation. What is not generally known or widely reported is the fact that the Party’s Officers (Leader, Chairman and Vice-chairman) and fifteen executive members are directly elected by delegates at the Congress. Delegates vote by secret ballot and results are tallied and announced at the said Congress. There is no secondary or later process to undercut or distort the direct choices of members of the party.

As part of the general congress activities, the National Congress of Women (the NCW) -- the women’s arm of the Party -- and the Guyana Youth and Student Movement (the GYSM) -- the youth arm of the Party -- will be holding their own Biennial Conferences. The NCW will convene its 13th Convention on Friday, August 27th, from 10 o’ clock at the Campbellville Secondary School. The main features of the program will be the address by the chairperson, Ms. Cheryl Sampson, and the report of the National Secretary. Workshops will be held to plan the way forward.

The GYSM will be holding its 12th Biennial Congress on Sunday, 29 August from 8 o’ clock at the Redeemer Primary School, Georgetown. Both organizations will conduct elections for new office bearers during the congress. It is worthy of mention that women and youth will constitute the overwhelming majority the delegates at the party’s Biennial Congress and are expected to influence the party’s strategy and direction in the coming period.

No doubt, delegates will leave the 14th Biennial Congress with a clear sense of mission and renewed commitment and determination. They will be given a firm understanding of whatever changes in strategies or new thinking that may be decided. They will leave with a plan of action to take the party forward into government. They will share in the party’s dedication to reconstructing this nation on a platform of peace and national cohesion.

The congress will culminate with a Congress Rally and Cultural Extravaganza at the Square of the Revolution on Sunday 29 August, starting at 6 pm. Thousands of Guyanese are expected to attend to listen to the major decisions of the Congress. All are invited.

Along with the regular Congress activities, a dance is planned for Saturday, August 28 at Congress Place; starting at 8 pm. Tickets cost $500.00. The public is invited.

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana.
Thursday, August 26, 2004