PRESS STATEMENT By the People’s National Congress Reform To Press Conference on Thursday, June 23, 2005 Hall of Heroes, Congress Place, Sophia




SUMMARY:
• The PNCR wishes to record its profound regret at the passing of Mrs. Lola Eileen Willems, a long standing Member of the People’s National Congress and Member of Parliament in the PNC Government for ten (10) years from 1971 to 1980;
• The launch of the so-called drug programme in a hotel demonstrates the usual disregard for Parliament by the PPP/C;
• The PNCR insists that deadlines and acceptable standards are equally important for the 2006 elections;
• The PNCR calls for a comprehensive review of the management of sports in the country;
• The recent visit by our team to China will serve to strengthen the existing friendly relations between the PNCR and the Government and people of China;

CONDOLENCES ON THE PASSING OF LOLA EILEEN WILLEMS

The People’s National Congress Reform wishes to record its profound regret at the passing of Mrs. Lola Eileen Willems a long standing Member of the People’s National Congress and Member of Parliament in the PNC Government for ten (10) years from 1971 to 1980.

Ms. Willems will be best remembered for her indefatigable work as a crusader on behalf of the poor and dispossessed.

As a Parliamentarian she was an advocate for social causes and was a no nonsense debater who earned the respect of her colleagues on both sides of the divide.

To her sorrowing children, grandchildren and other relatives, the Party Leader, Mr. Robert Corbin as well as all other members of the Central Executive Committee and General Council express sincere sympathy and condolences.

THE NATIONAL DRUG STRATEGY MASTER PLAN 2005-2009

On Tuesday 21st June 2005 the Government of Guyana launched a National Drug Strategy Master Plan. The PNCR is still examining the mechanics, scope and focus of this Master Plan to determine what, if any, merit there is in the proposals. We, however, do have certain fundamental concerns about the process by which it emerged and the manner in which it was launched.

With the launching of the National Drug Strategy Master Plan, at Le Meridien Pegasus, the PPP/C administration has re-emphasized the hallmark of its outdated political culture i.e. its unwillingness to properly consult with key stakeholders and to allow the National Assembly to play its proper role in the development of a strong democracy. Interestingly, in the Introduction to the Master Plan (pg iv) it is stated, “In the process of crafting this plan key stakeholders were consulted and their collective inputs helped in understanding the many social and other related issues which had to be addressed”. We wish to bring to the nation’s attention that at no time was the PNCR, or indeed any other parliamentary opposition party consulted or invited to any consultation. Having shown its usual disregard for the parliamentary parties the PPP/C administration then bypassed the National Assembly, where, in our considered view, the National Drug Strategy Master Plan should have been laid and debated, and opted for a PR opportunity.

The National Drug Strategy Master Plan must be laid in the National Assembly for debate and we urge the newly appointed Minister of Home Affairs to do so.

At the launching ceremony of this Master Plan His Excellency President Jagdeo once again chose to attack the Magistracy. Will our Head of State ever understand that Magistrates can only convict based on the evidence brought before them? Rather than chastise the magistrates for the high number of acquittals the President’s time would have been better served engaging the Attorney General on having qualified lawyers prosecute all drug and other serious criminal offences in the Magistrates Courts with immediate effect

JAGDEO AND RAMOTAR EXPOSE THE PPP/C PLOT FOR THE 2006 ELECTIONS

Jagdeo and Ramotar in their most recent scripting of the PPP/C position in relation to the preparation for elections 2006 completely exposed the PPP/C`s ill intent.

The PNCR has submitted proposals for the 2006 elections, we have made them public, and we have repeatedly called on GECOM to make decisions and to get on with the preparatory work for elections.

Rather than address our proposals Ramoutar and the PPP/C now call on GECOM to start continuous registration “and see what happens as we go along.”

To start continuous registration at centers without a decision on house-to-house verification or biometrics will inevitably cause these issues to drop by the way side. That is why PNCR has always called for a comprehensive and integrated plan for elections 2006. To date this plan has not been delivered. It is always on the brink of being completed or in need of rectification.

The PNCR will not fall for this ploy. The process cannot be tied to deadlines irrespective of the conditions or consequences. As we learnt in 1990, it is better to have no elections than to have bad elections. From the PNCR perspective, while deadlines are not irrelevant, acceptable standards are equally important. Deadlines may be shifted but standards must be maintained. There can be no elections without the acceptable standards. In this regard the PNCR’s concurs with the report of Mr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan, a member of the commonwealth team sent to Guyana to assist GECOM. Mr. Gyan in his conclusions stated: “Fixing whatever the problem is with the voters registration is a prerequisite for holding credible elections in Guyana in 2006. So, a consensus must be reached with no delay in the steps to make the register acceptable to all political parties.”



SPORTS IN SCHOOLS

In recent days a lot has been said about the state of sports in Guyana. The PNCR has noted that focus has been placed on the levels of efficiency and organization of the sports associations. Without attempting to cast blame the PNCR now calls for a comprehensive review of the management of sports in the country. This review should focus on the functioning of the National Sports Development Council (NSDC) and the general coordination of sports in the country. Emphasis should be placed on how the NSDC can assist associations to improve management.

Meanwhile, urgent action is needed with respect to the largest reservoir of our sporting talents – the Nation’s schools. When moving around the regions a very depressing sight is evident. Almost all school compounds are over grown with weeds. This takes away from our boys and girls the facility that could allow their natural talent to emerge. It is here a lot of young people will recognize their own talents and then attempts can be made to harness it. Imagine the amount of talent going to waste because school yards are allowed to be over grown with grass.

The PNCR calls on the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture to urgently correct this situation. Our boys and girls need those yards to run free.

PNCR DELEGATION RETURNS FROM VISIT TO CHINA

Leader of the PNCR Mr. Robert Corbin, and a party delegation returned to Guyana over the last week-end after a useful and successful visit to the People’s Republic of China. During their visit the delegation held several meetings and discussions with Party and Government Officials. Those discussions were useful and informative and provided an opportunity to share opinions and exchange ideas on current events both locally and internationally. In addition to discussions the delegation was afforded the opportunity to observe the significant developments in the transformation and modernization of China. More particularly the delegation was extremely impressed with the significant developments in Shanghai and Beijing which occurred over the last few years as a result of China encouragement of foreign private investment. These lessons may be very useful to Guyana. The PNCR is convinced that the visit will serve to strengthen the existing friendly relations between the PNCR and the Government and people of China. The delegation comprised of Mrs. Clarissa Riehl MP, PNCR Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, Dr. George Norton MP, Director Hinterland Affairs, Ms. Supriya Singh, Director Public Relations and Mr. Ronald Austin, Head Party Overseas Liaison Desk.


People's National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana.
Thursday, June 23, 2005