PRESS STATEMENT By People’s National Congress Reform Thursday, April 13, 2006 Hall of Heroes Congress Place, Sophia.




SUMMARY:
• The PNCR joins with others in rejecting the PPP/C’s Press Statement as highly irresponsible;
• The PNCR stands ever ready to support the gains made by the late great Hubert Nathanial Critchlow for workers and their unions in Guyana;
• The PNCR joins in asking, what useful national purpose would be served by sending this tape for voice authentication;
• In compiling the new Central Register or National Register of Registrants during the current registration exercise, no one on the 2001 O.L.E. can qualify to be included in that register if they are not resident in any registration division of a registration district, in Guyana;
• Work of Appointive Committee undermined by PPP partisan agenda.

PNCR REJECTS AS IRRESPONSIBLE AND DESPERATE THE PPP/C'S PRESS STATEMENT ON CONTRACTOR GAZZ SHEERMOHAMED'S KILLING

In a desperate attempt to divert public disgust and outrage away from its dealings with drug lords, the PPP/C, on April 8, 2006, used its statement on Mr. Sheer Mohammed Gaznab’s killing to hurl outrageous accusations at the PNCR. We believe that the best way to expose the desperation and to refute the total nonsense in the PPP/C's accusation is to quote it for the public to judge for itself:

"…the atmosphere that is existing that makes acts like these possible ... is not helped by the protests of the PNCR and their threats of violence both at their demonstrations and at their public meetings. Moreover contractors have been singled out by the opposition for vicious attacks and intimidation."

The PNCR joins with others in rejecting this statement as highly irresponsible. We need only add that, as the PPP/C propaganda that attempted to link the PNCR to crime continues to lose all credibility and as the public become more aware of the facts behind narco-trafficking and contract killings, we can expect from Freedom House similar acts of panic in the near future.

The Stabroek News, to its credit, showed sound judgement in its reporting of this highly irresponsible statement from the PPP/C by removing all references to the allegations against the PNCR. The Guyana Chronicle, as the public have come to expect, has once again exposed the paucity of its professionalism and its pursuit of a partisan agenda, by giving the PPP/C’s statement full coverage and prominence, while minimizing the more mature press release on the matter from the PNCR. We urge the media monitors and international observers, as well as the Guyanese public to take careful note of these occurrences.

THE PPP/C GOVERNMENT CONTINUES ITS DELIBERATE POLICY TO FRUSTRATE THE LEGITIMATE INTERESTS OF TRADE UNIONS IN GUYANA

The Guyana Public Service Union:
The Government has now decreed that the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU), which has represented public service workers since around 1923, cannot meet with its members within the precincts of their work places.

This latest bellicose act of the Government must be seen against the backdrop of its termination of the closed shop agency arrangements and the check-off payments by members of the union; creating a parallel public service of contracted employees with better salaries and conditions of work than traditional public servants; down-sizing the public service by the creation of government controlled semi-autonomous agencies; and imposing paltry salary increases on the Public Service Workers. All of these malevolent acts are directed towards undermining the effectiveness of the GPSU.

The venality of the Government, towards public service employees, is well illustrated by them purporting to, at long last, confirm public servants who have been acting in certain positions, in some instances, for over ten years, by callously paying them only one year's back pay for their labours. The prevalence of the sustained vindictive short-changing of public servants is ample testimony of the Government’s destructive intentions towards the GPSU.

The Guyana Postal and Telecommunication Workers Union:
It is unfortunate that postal workers and their union, the Guyana Postal Telecommunication Workers Union (GPTWU), were forced to take legitimate strike action against the Chairman, Bishop Edghill, and the management of Guyana Post Office Corporation (GPOC).

The workers blame the unacceptable state of affairs on the arrogance and patronizing attitude of the management of GPOC to the legitimate interests of the Union, in the context of the collective bargaining agreement between them. The postal workers and their union complain about the unwarranted interference, on the part of Bishop Edghill, in the day-to-day management of the corporation, to the detriment of the morale of workers.

The response of the Bishop, on behalf of the management of the GPOC, was typical of a PPP/C apparatchik: allege a sinister plot ( but give no details); impugn the integrity and character of those opposed to what has been done or proposed to be done by unsubstantiated allegations of criminality; and generally try to obfuscate the legitimate challenge.

Notwithstanding, the Bishop was forced to recant (repent). This episode must force right thinking members of society to re-examine the role of Bishop Edghill as Chairman of the Ethnic Relations Commission. The hopes and aspirations for Guyana's future which inheres in that Commission demand a degree of level-headedness, fairness and objectivity that has been shown to be sadly lacking in the Bishop, if we are to be guided by his handling of the Postal Workers industrial action.

The PNCR stands ever ready to support the gains made by the late great Hubert Nathanial Critchlow for workers and their unions in Guyana.

THE DECISION TO SEND THE ILLEGAL TELEPHONE RECORDING TO THE FBI FOR VOICE AUTHENTIFICATION DEMONSTRATES GOVERNMENT'S DISTORTED PRIORITIES AND ITS DESIRE TO APPEASE THEIR NARCO-BOSSES

Reports that the Jagdeo government has decided to send to the FBI, for voice authentication, the tape of the bugged telephone conversation purportedly between Police Commissioner Winston Felix and PNCR Vice-chairman Basil Williams, demonstrate the PPP/C's shocking lack of understanding of what are the priorities confronting this nation. With violent crime spiralling out of control; with contract killings making a troubling comeback; with blatant and undisguised Money Laundering undermining legitimate sectors of the economy; with the national scandal of the country being deemed a narco-state; with the still missing GDF AK47’s; and with the increased demonstration of the brazenness of the retinues of the drug barons; the Jagdeo government has decided, in deference to the interests of their associates in the criminal underworld, to continue to treat these problems as "tiny issues".

The PPP/C is obviously seeking to satisfy some spiteful and narrow political agenda by pursuing the matter of the bugged telephone conversation. Reasonable citizens would have thought that the government's foremost worry would have been to locate the equipment that made the illegal recording possible. Many would have thought that the government’s focus would have been on bringing the perpetrators of this illegal act and this breach of national security to justice. We can only conclude that the Jagdeo government is aiding and abetting those who want to undermine the credibility and effectiveness of the nation’s security forces.

The PNCR joins in asking, what useful national purpose would be served by sending this tape for voice authentication? How would this assistance help to make our families and communities safe? Seeking help from the US Government in any form should be left for worthwhile and higher undertakings.

We ask the question, why was the assistance of the FBI not sought to identify, arrest and place on trial those responsible for the extra-judicial killings or the major cocaine exports from Guyana which has led to drug busts in the USA, Canada and the UK?

RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT IN THE REGISTRATION PROCESS

According to the constitution no person shall vote at an election unless he is registered as an elector. An elector is a person who is 18 years and over; a Guyanese citizen, and or a Commonwealth citizen domiciled and resident in Guyana, and has been so resident at least 1 year immediately before the qualifying date for compiling or revising the register of electors.

Further the constitution provides that an elector must also satisfy such other qualifications as may be prescribed by or under any law. For example, the qualification of residence in a registration division of a registration district, as prescribed under the National Registration (Amendment) Act No. 14 of 2005, and the Elections Laws (Amendment) Act No. 15 of 2000.

It follows that if a person on the 2001 Official List of Electors (O.L.E.) is no longer resident in any registration division in Guyana, he or she cannot qualify to be registered as an elector; or vote at the next election.

Therefore, in compiling the new Central Register or National Register of Registrants during the current registration exercise, no one on the 2001 O.L.E. can qualify to be included in that register if they are not resident in any registration division of a registration district, in Guyana.

There is no provision in our laws for overseas voting.

WORK OF APPOINTIVE COMMITTEE UNDERMINED BY PPP PARTISAN AGENDA

On Monday 11 April 2006, the National Assembly Committee for the Appointment of Members of Constitutional Commissions (the Appointive Committee) submitted it Sixth Report to the National Assembly. This report was in relation to the appointment of a nominee to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Mr. Leslie Melville from the Public Service Commission.

During the debate on the Motion tabling the report, the PNCR expressed dissatisfaction with the procedures used by the committee to identify the nominee. The PNCR believes that the procedure used flew in the face of objectivity and resorted to solely partisan considerations as the basis for the determination of the nominee. This was a repeat of what happened for the Fourth and Fifth Reports on the appointment of members for the Public Service Commission and the Women and Gender Equity Commission, respectively.

It has now become clear that the Appointive Committee is not satisfying the reasonable requirement of ensuring transparency and objectivity in the appointment of members to constitutional commissions. The PNCR, therefore, wishes to announce its intentions of taking this matter for the consideration of the Parliamentary Standing Committee for Constitutional Reform since, in accordance with its Constitutional mandate, the work of the Appointive Committee should be guided by laid down procedures to ensure transparency and objectivity in the determination of appointment to Constitutional Commissions.


People's National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana.
Thursday, April 13, 2006