PRESS STATEMENT By People’s National Congress Reform Thursday, May 11, 2006 Hall of Heroes Congress Place, Sophia.




SUMMARY:
• A top priority for a PNCR-led government will be the jump-starting of the economy by the creation and sustaining of an Investor friendly environment;
• The continued resistance of the PPP/C to any form of verification is a clear indication that their priority is not ensuring a free, fair and transparent election;
• The Claims and Objections period is an integral part of the electoral process that provides a final opportunity for voters to get their names on the List and to have any corrections made;
• The PNCR has no doubt that the Private Sector Commission (PSC) has expended a significant amount of time, human resources and money over the last thirteen(13) odd years, trying their best to enlighten the PPP/C Government as to what was necessary to give the business community the confidence to invest in the economic activities of the country.

NATIONAL RALLY FOR GUYANA: RESTORING HOPE, HONORING MOTHERS

This Saturday, 13 May 2006, a large public rally is planned for the Square of the Revolution. The rally will be addressed by representatives of Opposition Political Parties, Trades Unions, religious organisations and other stakeholders.

The present situation with the elections preparation process will be among the main issues which will be addressed. The Guyanese public will be briefed on the latest developments and have the benefit of the views of the PNCR and other political stakeholders regarding the way forward. Speakers will also be addressing the recent tampering of the Constitution by the PPP/C to extend its life as a government and the legal challenge launched on its constitutionality.

The PNCR also proposes to deal with the upsurge in crime and the breakdown in the security situation nationally. No community, no person is now safe. As the alternative government, we accept the responsibility to explain to the public how we would deal with these problems.

Likewise, the economic plight of the Guyanese people cannot be ignored. Unemployment continues to rise. As the cost of living (and dying) continues its upward spiral, the dollar is buying less. Legitimate businesses continue to succumb. Our country is no longer attracting adequate amounts of clean investments. A top priority for a PNCR-led government will be the jump-starting of the economy by the creation and sustaining of an Investor friendly environment.

There will be cultural performances in music, dance and poetry preceding the rally, from 16:00 hrs (4:00pm) on Saturday, 13 May 2006, the eve of Mother’s Day, in tribute to our mothers. Indeed, one of the principal themes of the rally is the acknowledgement that crime, poor wages, the mounting cost of living and other hardships are visited heavily on our mothers. They are the ones who have to make ends meet. They are the ones who stay awake worrying about their sons and daughters. They are the ones who pray the most for the country’s salvation. The public rally, on Saturday, will recognize the plight of Guyana’s mothers and seek to restore their hopes for the future and give them the courage to carry on.

All are invited to the National Rally for Guyana this Saturday from 4:00pm (16:00hrs) at the Square of the Revolution.

ELECTIONS UPDATE

There was some misunderstanding that the Commissioners, who are opposition nominees, had resigned. The fact is that they had disengaged in the face of GECOM`s attempt not to address or fulfill its commitment to verification. The commissioners have since reengaged on condition that their concerns are addressed and that verification of the 2001 OLE, in particular, is addressed. The PNCR has been informed that, since their return, meetings were expected to be dedicated to the issue of verification. The PNCR is aware that time is of the essence and we are monitoring this situation very closely before it turns out to be yet another charade and time wasting exercise. In the meantime the PNCR continues to be in a state of readiness for the elections and confident that once the process is free, fair and transparent, including the verification of the 2001 OLE, it will sweep the poll.

The continued resistance of the PPP/C to any form of verification is a clear indication that their priority is not ensuring a free, fair and transparent election. It is obvious that the PPP feels that there are advantages in an unverified list of persons, whose existence has not been determined since the last elections. This list will include persons who have died in Guyana and overseas and for whom there is no local knowledge or record. Another possible category is the phantoms. This is not a far fetched allegation, as several persons were discovered in 2001 to have had more than one ID Card. One possible explanation for this is that there was deliberate multiple registration and the same person appears on the list using another name. The PPP/C also seems to have an interest in ensuring an election period that is mired in controversy and likely to be the source of the state of political instability that has characterized the period of the PPP/C in government.

The PNCR will continue its struggle for what is good for Guyana.


CLAIMS AND OBJECTIONS

Given the PNCR`s objection to a Preliminary List of Electors (PLE) which was not extracted from a new NRR and the use of an unverified 2001 OLE to compile the PLE, there might be a disincentive for citizens to participate in the claims and objections process. The PNCR is, however, encouraging citizens to actively scrutinize the PLE, which should be prominently displayed in their area, to ensure that their names are on the List and to identify the phantom names in their area. We urge all citizens to be involved and pass any suspicious names to the PNCR activist in their area. This involvement and the timely submission of relevant information will further strengthen the PNCR’s demand for verification.

The Claims and Objections period is an integral part of the electoral process that provides a final opportunity for voters to get their names on the List and to have any corrections made. It is well known that the registration process limited the opportunity for eligible persons to register, because of the limited registration Centers. GECOM rejected all recommendations to have more Registration Centers and to extend the period for Registration. The unprecedented limited number of offices for persons to submit claims and objections is yet another obstacle being placed on eligible voters to get on the list. In this context, the PNCR has called on GECOM to establish Offices in every Electoral Division as has been the practice for previous elections, over the years. We also call on GECOM to extend the period of Claims and Objections to give all Guyanese an equal opportunity to be registered to vote and ensure a free, fair and transparent election that accords with acceptable international standards.

The PNCR will continue the struggle for a proper system of verification.

THE PNCR HOPES THAT THE SWIFTNESS WITH WHICH TRINIDADIAN MURDER SUSPECT, MR DAVID “BUFFY” MILLARD, WAS WHISKED OUT OF THE COUNTRY DID NOT ROB THE JOINT SERVICES OF THE OPPORTUNITY TO GAIN VITAL INFORMATION FOR THEIR INVESTIGATION OF THE MISSING WEAPONS AND THE MURDER OF MINISTER SAWH.

The PNCR has viewed with special interest the recent arrest and extradition of accused Trinidadian murder and terrorist suspect, David “Buffy” Millard. We are encouraged that the Joint Services have kept an open mind in their investigation of the missing AK 47 rifles and the murder of Minister Sash Sawh. The PNCR hopes that the swiftness with which Mr. Millard was whisked out the country did not rob the Joint Services of the opportunity to gain vital information in their investigation of the missing weapons and the murder of the Minister.

We continue to urge the police to follow all credible leads to their very conclusion. We urge the police to do so effectively without violating the rights of citizens, which can only lead to loss of public support.

The circumstances of Mr. David “Buffy” Millard’s residence and subsequent capture and extradition, however, raise critical questions in the minds of many Guyanese. It is alarming that Mr. Millard could have obtained, with apparent ease, a Guyanese birth certificate and passport. The nation will recall that the PNCR had, during the “death squad era”, demanded an investigation into the issuance of passports under the watch of former discredited PPP Minister of Home Affairs, Ronald Gajraj. President Jagdeo, for questionable reasons, refused to permit any detailed investigations into either the death/phantom squads or the Minister. The reasons for that refusal are becoming more obvious to all Guyanese as more revelations are being made, especially those from an accused drug lord.

Available evidence also points to serious malpractices in the management and operation of the General Registrar‘s Office where there has been an abuse of the process for issuing birth certificates, especially to facilitate the registration of voters.

The PNCR is not unaware of the PPP sponsored programmes to have non-eligible foreigners registered for the purpose of voting in the forthcoming national elections. We call for an urgent audit of the operations of the General Registrar’s Office and the Immigration Department, especially in the context of the recent theft of over one hundred passports.

The police statements on Mr. Millard’s capture clearly indicate how well-connected he was to narco-based criminal enterprises in Guyana. Mr. Millard is obviously a man who most likely possesses vast amounts of information on the criminal networks in this country. The PNCR hopes that, prior to his swift extradition, the Guyana police had ample opportunity to thoroughly interrogate him.

It is one thing for Mr. Millard not to have been charged for the crimes he may have committed while in Guyana. It is, however, a far more serious matter if he was allowed to leave this country without first being thoroughly questioned about his criminal activities and connections here in Guyana.
PRESIDENTIAL SUMMIT ON PRIVATE SECTOR DEVELOPMENT
The recently held Presidential Summit on Private Sector Development can be best described, as stated by Stella Ramsaroop’s article in the Sunday May 7th publication of Kaieteur News, “It is very difficult to restrain myself from deeming this summit is a joke in itself ….. Does His Majesty really think anyone takes this whole charade seriously when the entire country knows that unless you are a PPP loyalist or a drug lord, you cannot even get through the first round of red tape before the money well runs dry?”
The PNCR has no doubt that the Private Sector Commission (PSC) has expended a significant amount of time, human resources and money over the last thirteen(13) odd years, trying their best to enlighten the PPP/C Government as to what was necessary to give the business community the confidence to invest in the economic activities of the country.
We would all recall that several years ago the PSC, after over a year of broad consultations amongst the business community, presented a draft document on a proposed Investment Code, which was subsequently, completey degutted by the PPP/C Administration. Representatives of the PNCR in Parliament subsequently brought to the attention of the Guyanese public, the fact that the Government was attempting to adopt a useless document by slipping it amongst other documents being circulated in the National Assembly. After lengthy national debates and discussions, the degutted document was abandoned by the Government.
Once again, the Government continues to say that the Private Sector must be the engine of growth. However, in the recent MOU between the Government and the Private Sector, concerning the foundation and operation of the new National Competitiveness Council (NCC), the President plants himself along with five(5) other members of the Government on the council, which will have a total of 12(twelve) members.
The conclusion that can be made about the President’s statement “I am excited about the Partnership……. This is the beginning”, is best described by Mr. William Walker’s article in today’s Stabroek News, “Stop this space ship, I want to get off!”
We have once again entered the “Twilight Zone”

People's National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana.
Thursday, May 11, 2006