PRESS STATEMENT By the People's National Congress Reform To the Press Conference on Thursday, September 1, 2005 Hall of Heroes, Congress Place, Sophia




SUMMARY:
• The PNCR has today conveyed a message of sympathy and words of comfort to President George Bush and through him to the American people and more especially to the people of the affected States.
• The PNCR Reform strongly condemns the violent attacks perpetrated against the two media houses, The Evening News and Stabroek News.
• The PNCR reiterates its concerns over the acts to terrorize and bring harm to the citizens of Buxton.
• The PNCR has noted the contributions which our indigenous people continue to make towards the development of a national ethos.
• The Leader of the People's National Congress Reform and Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition, Mr. Robert H.O. Corbin will be making an important “Address to the Nation” later today on elections.

CONDOLENCE MESSAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT AND PEOPLE OF THE USA

The emergency situation in the American States of Louisiana and Mississippi, following the disastrous Hurricane Katrina, has prompted the President of the United States, Mr. George W. Bush to declare “... we are dealing with one of the worst disasters in our nation’s history … the recovery will take years …” he said.

The People’s National Congress Reform has today conveyed a message of sympathy and words of comfort to President George Bush and through him to the American people and more especially to the people of the affected States.

The Message reads thus:
“News of the terrible devastation which has befallen the people and Governments of the States of Louisiana and Mississippi by Hurricane Katrina has saddened us all.

The graphic images flashed across television screens around the world remind us that no one is safe from natural disasters. We pray that the heroic people of the Untied States, with the aid of their Government, will once again overcome this nightmare which has so rudely and unceremoniously affected their lives.”

PNCR CONDEMNS ATTACKS ON MEDIA HOUSES

During the past week there have been violent attacks perpetrated against at least two (2) media houses to wit; The Evening News and the Stabroek News.

Whatever the motive for these attacks the People’s National Congress Reform strongly condemns them and empathizes with those media workers who were the victims.

The Media have a very important role to play in the ongoing fight against crime and lawlessness in our society; any attempt therefore to silence the media through intimidation should be condemned by every law abiding citizen.

SITUATION IN BUXTON

The PNCR reiterates its concerns over the acts to terrorize and bring harm to the citizens of Buxton. We refer to the spraying of the village last Friday night (August 26th) with rapid gun fire in which 16-year-old Delon Headley was slain and several other villagers injured. Our prayers and sympathies go out to the Headley and other affected families in the community.

We urge calm in these volatile times. We urge the villagers of Buxton not to be provoked and incited. Allow the police to carry out their investigations so that the perpetrators of Friday's murderous acts could be brought to justice. Additionally, we urge the police to exercise sound judgment and to act professionally in carrying out their responsibilities. Given the high levels of suspicion and tension, it is important the Police open all channels of communication with the community and its leaders. This is a time for thoughtful and sensible action from all sides.

PNCR LAUDS AMERINDIANS ON THE OCCASION OF AMERINDIAN HERITAGE MONTH, SEPTEMBER 2005

The month of September is here again, with it has come our annual observance and celebration of Amerindian Heritage Month.

The People’s National Congress Reform is proud to be associated with the many activities, which will be held by our indigenous people during this month to showcase their talents and to draw attention to their conditions of life in this beautiful country of ours.

As we observe and celebrate with our indigenous brothers and sisters, the PNCR wishes to focus the nation’s attention on the need to emphasize policies and programmes for their empowerment rather than those aimed at perpetuating their dependency. A prominent feature of the government’s relationship with our indigenous population is the brazen attempt to keep them in a state of dependency by the cynical use of handouts. As election time approaches there is even greater evidence of this as attempts are made to buy the indigenous vote. Yet this brazen attempt to buy the Amerindian vote is occurring at the very moment when the evidence compels the conclusion that the neglect of the Amerindian Communities by the PPP/C administration has had a dire impact on their livelihood. According to the latest World Bank Country Brief on Guyana some 80% of the Amerindian Communities live in poverty and there is no effective mechanism to address the myriad concerns of this community.

The provisions of the much touted New Amerindian Bill fall far short of what was recommended by the recognized Indigenous Peoples Organizations, particularly in respect of the devolution of power and authority to the various communities to manage their own affairs without undue interference from the Central Government authorities. The imperfection of this Bill and the disappointment it has caused the Amerindian Community are a direct consequence of the disregard for recommendations made by the indigenous peoples during the period of consultations as well as the a discounting of advice offered by the International Legal Expert hired to provide advice on the compatibility of the draft Act with International Human Rights Law.

During the past year the People’s National Congress Reform has noted the great discovery by President Jagdeo that the children of our indigenous population are very well spoken, bright and talented; we therefore call upon this government to redouble its efforts to provide more hinterland scholarships, so that these talented children can be provided with opportunities to develop their talents in order to contribute to their own and our country’s development.

Another area of great concern to our indigenous population is their freedom of movement. This constitutional right has, since the accession to office of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) administration being jeopardized because of the absence of scheduled, reliable and subsidized air travel by the Government.

Meanwhile the PNCR has noted the contributions which our indigenous people continue to make towards the development of a national ethos. Efforts at popularizing the various art forms, cuisine, and herbal medicine of our indigenous people have been commendable and need further encouragement by the state.

It is against this background that the PNCR assures our Amerindian brothers and sisters that as a government it will initiate programmes which will lead to an upturn in their economic activities and create respect for their way of life.

ELECTIONS UPDATE

On this matter the Leader of the People's National Congress Reform and Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition, Mr. Robert H.O. Corbin will be making an important “Address to the Nation” later today.



People's National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana.
Thursday, September 01, 2005