PRESS STATEMENT By the People’s National Congress Reform To the Press Conference on Thursday, January 12, 2006 Hall of Heroes, Congress Place, Sophia




SUMMARY:
 The PNCR yesterday extended Eid-Ul-Azha greetings to our Muslim Brothers and Sisters;
 The PNCR mourns the death of Kenneth Livingstone Percival, familiarly known as “KP” or “Teacher Livi” who passed away in the United States of America, yesterday, Wednesday, January 11, 2006 after a period of illness.
 The PNCR had alerted the Nation since December of the serious situation in the Pomeroon but it took the Administration several weeks before they attempted to address the situation;
 While the PNCR welcomes the media code, the Guyanese people must not lose focus of the fact that GECOM is still to decide how it intends to clean the voters list;
 A PNCR Government will re-introduce professionalism in the society with the aim of affording our youth the opportunity to utilize their skills and ability in a professional way.

EID GREETINGS

The PNCR yesterday extended Eid-Ul-Azha greetings to our Muslim Brothers and Sisters.

Recalling the supreme sacrifice which the Prophet Abraham was prepared to make by offering his own son, Ishmael to be sacrificed, the Party commended this action and noted that it should inspire us all to strive towards the ideals of brotherly love, peace, justice and empathy towards one another.

The PNCR, the message continued, has always been and will always remain respectful of Guyana’s cultural and religious diversity and believes that our diversity has worked and can continue to work to the country’s advantage. In this latter regard it should be remembered that it was the PNC Government, under its founder Leader, L.F.S. Burnham, which paved the way for each of the country’s major religious groups to observe their holy days as National Holidays.

Our Party remains committed to ensuring unity in diversity so that our beloved country can experience real development and progress.

Eid Mubarak!

PNCR MOURNS THE DEATH OF KENNETH PERCIVAL

The PNCR mourns the death of Kenneth Livingstone Percival, familiarly known as “KP” or “Teacher Livi” who passed away in the United States of America, yesterday, Wednesday, January 11, 2006 after a period of illness.

With his death the Party has lost another stalwart member who served with distinction during the pre and post independence struggles in Guyana.

A former Assistant General Secretary of the Party “KP” will be remembered for his thoroughness and complete dependability in the execution of all assignments.

To his sorrowing wife, children and other relatives, the Party Leader, other Members of the Central Executive Committee, the General Council and indeed the entire membership express sincere condolences.

POMEROON FLOODS ARE ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF GOVERNMENT NEGLIGENCE

Residents of the flooded areas in the Pomeroon are convinced that much of the suffering being endured by them could have been avoided if the PPP/C Administration had fulfilled promises made several years ago. Leader of the PNCR, Mr. Robert Corbin, who led the delegation heard this story continuously repeated on Tuesday last when a PNCR team visited the flooded areas at Jacklow, Dredge Creek, Dredge Creek Cross Canal, Martindale, Friendship Canal, Friendship, Victoria Land, Gant Belfield, Grant Enterprise, Aberdeen, and Hackney. Members of the PNCR team included Members of Parliament and Central Executives, Dr. George Norton, Dr. Dalgleish Joseph, Mr. Ivor Allen, PNCR Regional Councillor Doreen Duncan and other Party Regional Officials.

The floods have caused severe losses to residents including livestock, poultry, and cash and permanent crops. The value of the damage will certainly run into millions of dollars and, in the absence of a proper response from Government, the future for many residents appear bleak. For example, Alvin Melville of Jacklow was able to show the team his extensive cultivation of coffee, carambola, pears, citrus, plantains, all of which suffered severe damage. At Dredge Creek Cross Canal Ulene Alphonso explained that promises were made by officials from Office of the President led by Robert Persaud when they visited the area in February 2005. They had been assured that a dam and a canal would have been constructed last year to avoid a recurrence of their sad experiences. Yet one year later and after a long dry season the farmers will again endure suffering. At Martindale, George Thompson pointed to the substandard work done by the Government in his area in the construction of a dam which has been breached. This breach caused damage to all the farms and the entire area was under water.

The situation in Pomeroon is another example of the colossal failure of the PPP/C Administration. The situation was predictable. The Government had been aware of the problems since early 2005 but nothing was done in most areas. In other areas the works were sub-standard and of no effect at this time. In these circumstances it is surprising that the Government took so long to respond to this disaster. The PNCR had alerted the Nation since December of the serious situation in the Pomeroon but it took the Administration several weeks before they attempted to address the situation. It will take years for several of the farmers to recover. Many of their crops are permanent and take years to reach maturity. This fact must surely be taken into consideration when determining the level of compensation that will be paid to these farmers. It is hoped that the lessons of the present floods will influence President Jagdeo and his Administration to heed the advice which the PNCR had freely offered since the devastating floods of 2005.

The PNCR would like to extend thanks to all those who contributed to its relief effort and made it possible for the party to take two shipments of relief supplies to the flood affected communities in the Pomeroon

PNCR WELCOMES GECOM'S MEDIA CODE OF CONDUCT, BUT GECOM IS YET TO SOLVE CRITICAL ISSUES

The PNCR supports the recent emergence of GECOM's Code of Conduct for the Media. We support the necessity for proper journalistic standards, both as a normal requirement and as a special requirement, during election season. We urge all media houses to sign and abide by these codes. The State media, however, has a leading role to play in creating the environment for the adherence to these media standards. Not only are the State media publicly-owned and therefore obligated to all sections of the public, but are also by far the largest media operators in Guyana. NCN TV has the largest coverage of any TV station in Guyana, reaching as far as Berbice, Essequibo and Linden, and NCN Radio is the only radio station in the country. If the State media do not lead by example in terms of such set standards as "fairness and balance", and "accuracy and thoroughness", the journalistic environment could be compromised as other media houses inadvertently or advertently attempt to compensate for this imbalance. It is our belief therefore that all media houses must comply in equal measure for the code of conduct to stand the best chance.

We also note that the code also mentions the need for media editors to recognise and to accordingly adjust their coverage for the fact that official events could be used for electioneering purposes. The PNCR would ask GECOM's Media Monitoring Unit to pay special attention to this, given the penchant of the Jadgeo regime to blatantly engage in this tactic.

While we welcome the media code, we ask the Guyanese people not to lose focus of the fact that GECOM is still to decide how it intends to clean the voters list. A decision on this was promised in mid-December 2005 but, in true GECOM style, none has emerged. We continue to challenge GECOM, the PPP/C and any other to answer the following questions for the benefit of the Guyanese people:

i. can it be denied that close to 100,000 names of people are on the OLE that ought to be removed because of death and migration of registrants?;

ii. how can a “Claims and Objections” mechanism hope to fully and efficiently remove this volume of names?.

iii. Dr Surujbally and GECOM must objectively confront these issues and answer these questions directly, and urgently, instead of dodging and dilly-dallying.

THE YOUTH OF GUYANA DESERVE MORE

The Jagdeo Administration is in large measure responsible for the plight of the Guyanese youth in our country. That unemployment is highest among young people is a reflection of the Government’s inability to attract foreign investment and their lack of concern for the youth of Guyana. This failure to attract investment is in the main responsible for the high level of unemployment among the youth of Guyana. The fact that graduates from the University are unemployed years after graduation is also ample evidence of the plight of the youth.

What is more, the Administration shows no interest in ensuring that the youth of Guyana can develop and live an independent life. In fact, the Government’s approach is one of creating dependency and the “beg thy neighbour” syndrome that is now the hallmark of the large mass of unemployed youth. No one should be fooled by Jagdeo’s approach of distributing tax payers’ money based on his own whims and fancies. This approach is aimed at utilising tax payer’s money in a way that augurs well for Government corruption and the pursuance of its narrow partisan political objectives. It is in this context that the doling out of $500M to football clubs must be seen.

The PNCR believes there is need for assistance to the football clubs and the sporting fraternity in general. However, what is evident is that the regime is not interested in promoting youth and sport. Their interest is in political campaigning and creating avenues for their lackeys to be able to obtain wealth by corrupt means. Is it not interesting that this cavalier approach to taxpayers’ money is occurring at a time when the teachers who mould our children, the nurses who take care of our health, the Policemen and women who are to protect us and the Public Service in general are being told 7%, take it or leave it by the Jagdeo Administration? In the mean time the government, without any system of prioritization, doles out money in keeping with their political agenda.

The People's National Congress Reform has a clear vision for the youth of Guyana. We believe that investment is the key to creating jobs for our young people. To this end a PNCR Government will pursue aggressively a policy of encouraging investment in the Guyanese economy. The People's National Congress Reform believes that we should end this situation in which many of our youths are deprived of the opportunity to study law because they are not the children of the wealthy. In this regard the People's National Congress Reform will implement policies to ensure that the many talented young people who have completed their LLB and are unable to complete their law studies to be able to do so. This will also be the case for the many students who have the talent, but because of Government’s punitive policies, cannot realize their ambition. A PNCR Government will re-introduce professionalism in the society with the aim of affording our youth the opportunity to utilize their skills and abilities in a professional way. We will end the present situation in which partisan politics is treated as being more important than professional competence.

While the People's National Congress Reform has a clear vision for the youth of Guyana, it is our view that our youth have ideas and aspirations of their own. In this regard the PNCR believes that the opportunity must be created for the youth to inform and influence the policies and vision of our Party. To this end therefore the PNCR will convene a National Consultation and Reception involving the youth of Guyana on Saturday, February 4, 2006.

People's National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Greater-Georgetown, Guyana.
Thursday, January 12, 2006