PRESS STATEMENT By Mr Stanley Ming, MP Member - Central Executive Committee People’s National Congress/ Reform At the Press Conference on Thursday May 09, 2002 Hall of Heroes, Congress Place, Sophia.



THE PNCR CALL FOR A COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO THE GUYANA POLICE FORCE:

Since the unleashing of the Target Special Squad on the Guyanese public in 1993, the PNC/R has been calling for investigations into the over 140 extra-judicial deaths at the hands of its members. These deaths in the overwhelming majority of cases were brutal and cold-blooded murders. The rate of investigation, if any, has been pathetic and there is no reported case of any “black clothes” officer being charged for murder.

The weight of evidence against them is now unbearable so much so that a piece-meal investigation on a case-by-case basis will not solve the problem that has grown to gigantic proportions. With this in mind, the PNC/R, since
2000, began calling publicly for the urgent establishment of a Commission of Inquiry into the operations of the entire Guyana Police Force (GPF), to examine inter alia, its leadership, structure and general ability to fulfil its mandate to give service and protection to all of the people of Guyana.

No right thinking Guyanese could dispute the fact that the state of the Guyana Police Force is the worst state that it has ever been. The vindictive policy of the PPP/C regime, since 1992, of starving the GPF and the other disciplined services of vital financial and material resources, has resulted in a demoralised Force which has become:

• Very poorly paid and dangerously under-strength.
• Estranged from the various communities on which they should be depending for co-operation and assistance.
• Unable to combat and control the upsurge in violent crime and the rapid expansion of the drug trade.
• Unable to cope with the escalating white-collar corruption and crimes.
• Ill equipped and de-motivated.

The Guyana Police Force is obviously in urgent need of rehabilitation. Why is Freedom House, Dr Luncheon and other acolytes so strenuously resisting the urgent establishment of a Commission of Inquiry? The Guyanese people are no fools, we are sure that they know the answer! The regime should heed the old Guyanese warning that night ah run til day catch am!

The People’s National Congress Reform makes no apology for pointing out the distressed state of the GPF. We refuse to pretend that all is well when the obvious stares us in the face! Unlike the PPP/C, we have nothing to fear or hide from a Commission of Inquiry!

In a bizarre way the “chickens have come home to roost”. Freedom House, since the PPP assumed office in 1992, has relentlessly set out to punish the joint services which it perceived as not being pliant. In their Machiavellian design, the regime set out to “control” these services by starving them of the resources which they badly needed to discharge their constitutional and statutory responsibilities and they also manipulated the personnel by punishing and rewarding members of the various services who disobey or obey their instructions. The result is that the services are in such poor shape that they are incapable of extinguishing the most basic of fires, in the case of the Guyana Fire Service, or apprehending a gang of fugitives, as is the case with the Guyana Police Force. Some may want to argue that this is poetic justice but we prefer to believe that the Frankenstein created by the PPP has become uncontrollable and even they are now threatened at being devoured by it.

The recent utterances of Roger Luncheon confirm that the regime has no intention of having an Inquiry into the functioning of the “Black Clothes” squad or the entire force They want to continue their destructive policies whereby the necessary tools will not be supplied; competent officers will not be promoted; political directions will continue to be given; and the Guyana Police Force will be subsumed under some Community Policing Group. This is the dream and desire of the PPP/C regime.

The PNCR cannot and will not allow it to happen. The PPP/C need to be reminded, “Never forget the day of judgment. Keep it always in view. Frame every action and plan with a reference to its unchanging decisions. ”

LUNCHEON’S MENDACITY CONFIRMED:

At our Press Conference on Thursday 2002 April 25 we presented documented evidence of Dr Luncheon’s mendacity.

Minister Collymore, co-chairman of the Local Government Task Force, at their meeting on Tuesday 2002 April 30, confirmed the veracity of the PNCR’s statement and reported that Luncheon had undertaken to publicly withdraw his misinformation.

Dr Luncheon has since held two Press Conferences and has not seen it fit to apologise to the Guyanese public for his gross untruth. What manner of man is this!

We can only conclude that that was a deliberate act on his part!

CLEMENT ROHEE’S RESPONSIBILITY FOR WTO MATTERS:

The People's National Congress/reform notes with no small amount of amusement Minister Rohee's lament that Guyana lacks what he has described as the "human resource capacity" to fulfil its responsibility as Ministerial spokesperson for Caricom in the upcoming negotiations with the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Mr. Rohee is quoted in the Chronicle newspaper of 2002 April 23 as saying that "The best Guyanese brains have migrated to the industrialised world". How laughable and hypocritical!

The paucity of skilled personnel in the foreign and international economic affairs sector is a situation entirely of Rohee's own making. Guyanese will do well to remember that immediately on assuming office the PPP regime assigned Rohee the task of purging the Foreign Ministry. The regime's vindictive action was influenced by two considerations: one, that expenditure on foreign affairs was an extravagance that Guyana could not afford, and, two, that the staff of the Ministry was politically unreliable. Rohee took to his task with a spitefulness and vengefulness that bordered on the sadistic. Beginning at home and then a two week trip to the major world capitals in which Guyana had diplomatic representation; Rohee decimated the professional corps of the country's Foreign Service. Rohee laid low a once proud and highly respected foreign service, destroying its institutional memory, unceremoniously and peremptorily dismissing its most qualified and competent senior officers and creating a crisis of morale among survivors.

This critically important Ministry has never recovered from this ill-conceived pogrom and Guyana's national interests were irreparably damaged as the Ministry foundered under Rohee's lacklustre and uninformed guidance and a regime which continues to grope in the dark in the foreign policy arena.

The chickens have now come home to roost and Guyanese are paying a heavy price!

We see the result of Rohee's sad legacy in the lack of certainty and resolution in our dealings with our two contentious neighbours, Venezuela and Suriname. President Jagdeo's visit to Suriname was a fiasco and did nothing to advance Guyana's sovereign rights. The CGX rigs have still not been able to return to Guyana's waters from which they were ejected by Surinamese gunboats without a qualitative response from our side and the Surinamese are understandably showing a marked disinclination to begin talks on this matter. Why should they?
They have the upper hand.

Guyana's Ambassador to Surinam is a political hack wholly unsuited for that position. He retains that status only because of the dictates of Freedom House and the fact that the PNCR has called for his removal. We do so again anyhow!.

Where Venezuela is concerned Rohee presided over the destruction of critical files with historical and other data pertinent to our case against Venezuela's unjust claim. These files, in Rohee’s twisted mind, had been tainted by association with the PNC in government so they had to go. With Chavez now flexing his military and political muscle in the area of controversy, President Jagdeo has had to resort to asking British Foreign Minister, Jack Straw for help in accessing archival records which once reposed at Takuba Lodge!

So it is insincere and sanctimonious for Rohee to talk about the absence of resources in the Ministries responsible for foreign relations when he presided over the annihilation of the Foreign Ministry's human capital and information base.

One of the officers crudely terminated by Rohee was Dr. James Matheson who was in the unfortunate position of being Guyana's Ambassador to Brussels. Dr. Matheson was universally recognised as an effective advocate of Guyana's concerns in this key post, vital to Guyana's economic well-being. He was a career Foreign Service Officer whose undoubted talents were recognised by the then PNC-government. But in Rohee's brief reign of terror he was unceremoniously booted out of office for reasons which had nothing to do with his performance. Rohee travelled to Brussels and gave Dr. Matheson three days to vacate his home and office. Rohee had no time for diplomatic niceties and refused Matheson the accepted diplomatic courtesy of presenting his Letters of Recall to the King of
Belgium as is the norm for departing Ambassadors. He callously refused to pay Matheson monies due him and the former ambassador was forced eventually to seek recourse to the Courts, like so many others of his colleagues. The Brussells post remained vacant for many months much to the detriment of Guyana's economic interests.

Matheson, highly qualified and willing to serve his country, was made painfully aware that under a PPP/C regime there was no place for his talents in Guyana. But others recognised his qualities. He was recruited as a Senior Technical Advisor in the London offices of the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery under a former PNC Foreign Minister and Commonwealth Secretary-General Sir Shridath Ramphal. With the reorganisation of the RMN, Dr. Matheson has now been retained by Guysuco's new marketing agent, Czarnikow Sugar of London, to do its market lobbying.

Rohee has the gall to talk about Guyana not having skills! Rohee has no place in the cabinet of any self-respecting government and should be quietly put out to pasture to write his memoirs, which could, perhaps, be aptly titled, "From Metropole to Takuba".

PRESIDENT AND GOVERNMENT BOYCOTT OF GTUC MAY DAY RALLY:

The PNC/R condemns President Bharrat Jagdeo's decision on May Day to ignore the Guyana Trades Union Congress’ official rally in preference to the parallel breakaway event by the PPP-controlled GAWU as petty and divisive and unbecoming of the Head of State. At precisely the time when the nation should be coming together President Jagdeo acts in a way to highlight and intensify divisions.

Granted that President Jagdeo would have endured some discomfort at the GTUC Rally from workers understandably disgruntled by their rapidly declining standard of living and a future seemingly without any hope of economic betterment for themselves and children. But that comes with the territory. It was no reason for President Jagdeo to engage in the worst possible kind of petty politics. Guyanese have a right to expect more maturity and sophistication from our national leaders. Sadly and unsettlingly, they didn't get it from President Jagdeo on May Day.

The PNCR expects that one of the President's mouthpieces, the journalistic nonentity Robert Persaud, who has bombastically threatened the TUC with a loss of its government subvention for daring to criticise the Black Clothes police, may wish to rationalise the President's actions as part of the regime's self-declared war on terrorism. Whatever may be said by the spin doctors, the President's behaviour is proof positive that in matters national the script is written at Freedom House of which the Presidential Secretariat is a mere extension.

THE PPP/C ‘S CONTINUED CALLOUSNESS TOWARDS THE RICE SECTOR:

The PNC/R is monitoring closely the severe crisis which is looming in Guyana's rice industry because of the regime's wanton neglect of essential infrastructural works such as the grading dams and clearing drains. From Black Bush Polder to West Demerara to Essequibo farmers are facing personal and financial ruin and are pointing the finger of blame squarely at the regime's dereliction of its responsibilities to the agricultural sector and the rice sub-sector in particular.

The regime's reaction has been to send ministers scurrying all over the place making promises to do what should have been already done. For many small rice farmers these commitments have come too late. Mere palliatives will not help.

The PNCR has noted that instead of indicating what action the regime contemplated to ease situation, one Minister had the insolence and effrontery to lecture the farmers at Black Bush on turning to other forms of agriculture.

The regime's much touted bail-out package for small farmers unveiled with great fanfare by President Jagdeo remains a mirage, a cruel hoax perpetrated by an uncaring regime on hard-working, industrious citizens at their wit's end to deal with a dilemma brought on in large measure by official neglect and governmental ineptitude. Many, far too many, seeing no light at the end of the tunnel have committed suicide. The regime cannot escape blame for the grief its inaction has caused and continues to cause many families. If ever there is a time for the banks to show compassion it is now. And the PNCR calls on our banks to approach the problems of our rice farmers with sympathy and understanding.

The PNCR takes some comfort in the fact that many of these farmers who now face penury and bankruptcy are openly recalling a better time under the PNC administration.

PPP acolytes will not like what they are hearing since they have sought to distort the PNC's record of performance in office and more so in those sectors of traditional PPP support. But the farmers are hurting and they are speaking their minds.

The PNCR wishes to assure the rice farmers of Guyana that the party is taking a keen interest in their problems and will be a forceful advocate of appropriate remedial and policy measures to be taken by the regime to revive the fortunes of the industry. The doors of Congress Place are open to all farmers who may wish to come and discuss their predicament

The time is now for the situation in the rice industry to be placed on the front burner of national political debate, and the PNCR will continue to place it there.


IDB RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVE’S CONTINUED SILENCE ON FUNDING OF CORRUPT TRANSACTIONS:

It is, perhaps, confirmation of his contempt for the poor suffering Guyanese taxpayers and the future generations of Guyanese who will have to repay the IDB funds which have been corruptly used to fatten the regime’s cohorts, that Mr Robert Kestell, the IDB Resident Representative for Guyana, had continued to remain silent.

We hope that Mr Kestell’s silence is not construed by Guyanese as his admission that the IDB is as guilty a party as the corrupt PPP/C officials and their Freedom House paymaster, BK International.

The PNC/R gives warning that we will be relentless in pursuit of this matter.

THE REGIME’S CONTINUED EFFORTS TO DESTROY BERMINE:

We have previously brought to your attention the various activities which have been undertaken by the Prime Minister and other minions of Freedom House to destroy BERMINE in favour of ABC.

It seems, as is spelt out in the attached document, that we are about to witness the final act of political spite and anti-national vindictiveness. The PPP/C has not yet accepted that it must act in the best interest of all Guyanese and not just some Guyanese!

The PNCR warns all concerned that we will take whatever political action is necessary to protect the interests of the workers in the Guyana Bauxite Industry and the communities which are dependent on the Industry.


People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia.
May 9th, 2002