PRESS STATEMENT By The People’s National Congress Reform To The Press Conference, Thursday, September 2, 2004 Hall of Heroes, Congress Place, Sophia




SUMMARY:
• The PNCR has on countless previous occasions stated that while the Guyana Police Force with the help of all law abiding Guyanese must in the short term seek to bring the unacceptably high incident of crime under control, it is only by addressing the root cause of crime that we in Guyana will be able to permanently lessen this phenomenon.
• The People’s National Congress Reform salutes the indigenous people of Guyana on Amerindian Heritage Month.
• The 14th Biennial Congress of the People’s National Congress Reform, which was held under the Theme “Building a Platform for Peace, National Cohesion and Reconstruction”, was an unquestioned success from every point of view.

THE RE-EMERGING UPSURGE OF CRIME ON THE EAST COAST

The People’s National Congress Reform unequivocally condemns the senseless and brutal murder of nine (9) year old CHRISTINE SOOKRA in the wee hours of Saturday, August 28, 2004 at Coldigen, East Coast Demerara. We urge anyone with information to come forward to assist the Guyana Police Force to bring to justice those responsible for this heinous crime.

On Monday, August 30, 2004 Mr. Corbin along with senior members of the PNCR including Mr. Winston Murray, Mr. Basil Williams, Mr. Stanley Ming, Ms. Supriya Singh and Mrs. Volda Lawrence visited the grieving SOOKRA family and extended deepest condolences to them. We ask God to give them strength at this most difficult time.

The Party also strongly condemns the brutal murders of RAMESH SEWSANKAR; ANTHONY PARSRAM and NIGEL AMSTERDAM which occurred between Sunday, August 29 and Monday, August 30, 2004.

The 14th Biennial Congress of our Party endorsed the Address given on Friday, August 27, 2004 at the opening of the Congress by our Leader that condemned criminal activities and emphasized the need for Peace and Reconciliation in our country.

In the context of our Leaders address the murders of CHRISTINE SOOKRA, RAMESH SEWSANKAR; ANTHONY PARSRAM and NIGEL AMSTERDAM are particularly painful for our party. The PNCR notes with disgust the reckless attempt by the PPP/C administration and others to use the crime situation to fan the flames of political and ethnic tension and bad blood.

The PNCR will not be sucked into a propaganda war with anyone in which unfounded accusations and insults are hurled. This is not a time for mud slinging. This is not a time for creating divisions. This is a time when Guyanese must unite together for their collective security and to find and implement a response to the present crisis.
Our recent history has demonstrated that this approach is counterproductive and dangerous. We urge the Government and the PPP/C to desist from politicizing the murders of Guyanese citizens and get on with the task of making all Villages on the East Coast safe from marauding bandits.

The PNCR is exceedingly concerned about these developments. Consequently, a Senior Party Delegation led by the Leader, Mr. Robert Corbin, met with the Commissioner of Police yesterday morning at Police Headquarters. Accompanying Mr. Corbin were Vice-Chairpersons of the Party, Mr. Basil Williams, MP and Mrs. Deborah Backer, MP, members of the Central Executive Committee, Mr. Stanley Ming, MP and Mrs. Clarissa Riehl, MP. At that meeting the Party expressed its concern for the latest eruption of violence on the East Coast and discussed related issues with him. The PNCR also offered its unequivocal support to the Police and urged the Commissioner to ensure a thorough investigation of these latest developments. We trust that the Commissioner of Police will do everything within his power to bring the situation under control.

The PNCR has on countless previous occasions stated that while the Guyana Police Force with the help of all law abiding Guyanese must in the short term seek to bring the unacceptably high incidents of crime under control, it is only by addressing the root cause of crime that we in Guyana will be able to permanently lessen this phenomenon.

SALUTE TO OUR AMERINDIAN BROTHERS AND SISTERS ON AMERINDIAN HERITAGE MONTH

The People’s National Congress Reform salutes the indigenous people of Guyana, our Amerindian brothers and sisters on the commencement of Amerindian Heritage Month. Our Amerindian brothers and sisters have, like other ethnic groups in Guyana, made great sacrifices for the development of our great and green land of Guyana. Their culture has enriched the cultural fabric of Guyana’s society, making it unique in the Caribbean and the wider world. As we celebrate this heritage month, we also need to focus on those continuous irritants and constraints which hinder the full contribution of the Amerindian people to Guyana’s development.

The PNCR encourages the younger members of the indigenous community to learn from the experience of their elders and maintain their rich culture in the changing and challenging world environment.

CONGRESS 2004

The 14th Biennial Congress of the People’s National Congress Reform, which was held under the Theme “Building a Platform for Peace, National cohesion and Reconstruction” was an unquestioned success from every point of view.

Despite the depressing national economic and political situation, the attendance by Party members to this congress was by far the largest in its recent history.

They came from every geographic region of the country, as well as from the Party’s Overseas groups. Naturally, Region No. 4, being the host region and most populous region in the Country, had the largest turn out of Delegates and Observers; however, it was closely followed by Regions 5, 3, 10 on the Coast, and from region 9, in the hinterland. Of equal significance was the turn out of the youth delegates with two hundred and thirty two (232) in attendance. The Congress witnessed the largest ever participation from Overseas groups or Chapters as some prefer to be called. They came from Miami Florida, Atlanta Georgia, Washington DC, New York, New Jersey, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and London. A special guest at this congress was Mr. Lionel Sealy, General Secretary of the Democratic Labour Party of Barbados.

The Opening Session on Friday 27th August was attended by specially invited representatives from political, business, religious, trades union and civil society organizations as well as, resident members of the diplomatic corps. The ceremonial opening programme was highlighted by a rich and diverse cultural presentation prior to the main event for the afternoon, the Congress Address by the Party Leader.

In his Congress Address the Party Leader saluted past Leaders who served with dedication. He also, reviewed the work of the Party and the State of the Nation. Among the issues emphasized by the Leader were the need for the PNCR to build and strengthen its alliances with others.

• PNCR must lead the way towards the evolution of a system of governance which is all inclusive;
• The country’s security dilemma and the issue of death squads
• Peace and Reconciliation are an absolute necessity for Guyana to move forward;
• Peace must be based on justice and a recognition of the rights and aspirations of all Guyanese of whatever race or ethnic background social standing or religious belief they may be;
• To build National Cohesion we must close the Chapter on the past and give equal recognition to the good work of all our past leaders;
• The PNCR’s willingness to lead in the effort by all stakeholders to derive a consensual Economic Policy Framework using the (NDS) National Development Strategy document as a starting point.

On the question of National and Local Elections the Party Leader made it clear that the PNCR will not participate in any election unless GECOM can satisfy the Party that it’s concerns are being satisfactorily addressed.

Underscoring the fact that the PNCR can and will win the next elections the Party Leader emphasized that our Party’s support for the system of Shared Governance is not inconsistent with winning. On the contrary, only when the Party wins, will there be a guarantee of the implementation of the Shared Governance model agreed upon for Guyana.

The General Secretary’s Report to the Congress was presented at the second session on Saturday, August 28, 2004. In it he identified the major events, achievements, and failures of the Party and analyzed the state of the Party.

The Congress undertook a review of the Party’s Constitution and made changes to several sections. Most significant however, were the changes made to give effect to the broadening of the Leadership Structure. The Officers of the Party now include two Vice Chairpersons instead of one and provision for a system of Directors with responsibility for various subject areas. The Secretariat is also to be strengthened with the appointment of an Assistant General Secretary.

Questions and Motions submitted by Party groups were discussed during the third and fourth sessions of Congress. Due to time constraints Congress could not conclude the consideration of all that were submitted. The General Council has, however, been authorized by Congress to deal with all unfinished business.

Elections
The Congress elected the following Party Officers and Members of its Central Executive Committee:-

Mr. Robert H.O. Corbin, MP, was it’s sole nominee by Party Groups from across the country for the position of Party Leader and was, therefore, re-elected unopposed.

The other elected Party Officers are: Mr. Winston Murray, CCH, MP, Chairman, Mr. Basil Williams, MP, Vice-Chairman, Mrs. Deborah Backer, MP, Vice-Chairman. The fifteen (15) elected members of the Central Executive Committee are Mr. Stanley Ming, MP, Mr. Deryck Bernard, MP, Mr. Jerome Khan, MP, Mr. Vincent Alexander, MP, Mr. Oscar Clarke, Mr. James Mc Allister, MP, Dr. Dalgleish Joseph, MD, MP, Mr. Aubrey Norton, Mrs. Clarissa Riehl, MP, Dr. George Norton, MP, Mr. Ivor Allen, MP, Mr. E. Lance Carberry, MP, Ms. Amna Ally, MP, Ms. Supriya Singh and Mr. Joseph Hamilton.

As a consequence of the recommendations of the Party’s Strategic Leadership Retreat, held from February14-16, 2003, with respect to the reorganization of the Party’s management, including the establishment of a more broad base management team, and the subsequent decision of the Central Executive Committee and approved by the Party’s General Council, Congress amended the Party Constitution to provide for the appointment of Directors as well as for Advisors to the Party Leader.

Accordingly, appointment of the following Directors and Advisors was announced by the Party Leader:

- Mr. Vincent Alexander, Director of Mobilisation, Head of the Party’s Election Committee and Special Advisor to the Party Leader on Elections.
- Mr. Deryck Bernard, Director of Policy Development.
- Mr. Stanley Ming, Director of Economic Ventures and Special Advisor to the Party Leader on National Development issues.
- Mr. Raphael Trotman, Director of Legal Affairs and Special Advisor to the Party Leader on International Relations.
- Ms. Supriya Singh, Director of Public Communications.
- Mrs. Volda Lawrence, Director of Human Services and Welfare.
- Dr. George Norton, Director of Hinterland Affairs.

The Curtain came down with the Congress Rally and Cultural Extravaganza at the Square of the Revolution at which the large audience heard the Party Leader, Chairman, Mr. Winston Murray, and Executive Member Mr. Stanley Ming report the results of the deliberations of Congress.

The Party wishes to express its gratitude to all who have worked tirelessly to make this 14th Biennial congress the great success that it was. Let me also, on behalf of the Party, thank all our benefactors, and they are many, for their continued loyalty and support for our efforts to achieve peace, national cohesion and reconstruction in this our dear land of Guyana.

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana.
Thursday, September 02, 2004