PRESS STATEMENT By People’s National Congress Reform Thursday, 8 June, 2006 Hall of Heroes Congress Place, Sophia.




SUMMARY:
• The Leadership of the PNCR continues its outreach activities in various parts of the country. Among the objectives of this programme is to assess the progress of the registration exercise, to update citizens on the issue of verification and to discuss with them the state of affairs in the country and in their communities with a view to finding solutions;
• The very act of imposing a deferment or cancellation of repayment on the bond holders must necessarily lower the willingness of institutional lenders to lend to Guyana
• The PNCR takes this opportunity to call on the PPP/C to categorically condemn crime and to renounce all connections with organised crime, narco barons and crime bosses;
• The issue of verification of the 2001 OLE is an essential requirement for free, fair and transparent Elections and the PNCR, with other Opposition Parties, will, in the days and weeks ahead, intensify its campaign to ensure that verification is done;

PNCR’S OUTREACH ACTIVITIES: CITIZENS CONTINUE TO EXPRESS THEIR GRAVE DISSATISFACTION WITH THE POOR PERFORMANCE AND CORRUPTION OF THE JAGDEO GOVERNMENT

During the past weeks the Leadership of the PNCR continued its outreach activities in various parts of the country. Among the objectives of this programme were to assess the progress of the registration exercise, to update citizens on the issue of verification and to discuss with them the state of affairs in the country and in their communities with a view to finding solutions.

Among the areas visited, over the past two weeks, were Linden in Region 10, New Amsterdam and Canje in Region 6, Parika in Region 3, Mahaica, East Coast Demerara, Region 4 and the Matthews Ridge/Kaituma and Mabaruma sub-Regions of Region 1. The teams were led by Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform, Mr. Robert Corbin, and included Central Executive Committee members Dr. Dalgleish Joseph, Dr. George Norton, Ms. Volda Lawrence, Amna Ally, Clarissa Riehl, Ernest Elliot and other regional executive members.

At all areas visited residents voiced their concerns over the failed promises of the PPP/C and President Jagdeo since they came to Office. At Linden, workers were depressed over the imminent closure of the Bauxite Company and the failure of the Jagdeo Administration to implement the promised development plan for the Region, despite the publicity given by them, in past years, to this proposed plan. At Unity and Lancaster, Mahaica, residents were concerned over the failure of the PPP to deal with many of their community problems, such as water supply, drainage and poor roads, despite the fact that they were so close to the birth place of President Jagdeo. At Lancaster they expressed dissatisfaction over the apparent discrimination in the provision of infrastructure works as compared with the work done at Unity, the bordering community. At Matthews Ridge, Kaituma, Sebai, Kamwatta, White Water Creek and the Settlement area in the North West, the residents listed the many failed promises of the Government including the provision of water supply and electricity to their communities. The Amerindian villagers pointed to the betrayal of trust by the Jagdeo Administration and the lack of respect for the indigenous peoples. They made it clear that they were eagerly awaiting the next elections to contribute to the needed changes in Guyana by removing the present PPP/C Government.

Last week-end, 2 – 4 June 2006, Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform, Mr. Robert Corbin, spent three days in Region #1. While on his visit, residents of Kamwatta and White Water Creek complained about the non-availability of potable water, the deplorable state of the roads, inadequate electricity supply, unprofessional treatment at the local hospital and the absence of vision by the PPP/C for the upliftment of their economic status.

On Sunday, 4 June, 2006, the Leader and team interacted and participated in various sporting disciplines, including football and the female cricket competition at Mabaruma. Six teams participated in the cricket competition. Dynamic Region #1 team carted off the winner’s trophy and cash prize, while the Kumaka cricket team took the second place. The winners of the football competition also carted off the No.1 cash prize as well as the winner’s trophy. The trophies and cash prizes were provided by the PNCR.

The PNCR’s outreach activities will continue and a team will visit the Upper Mazaruni area next week end where the villages of Phillipai, Pariuma, Waramadong, Jawalla, Imbaimadai and Kako are located.

GOVERNMENT DEFAULT ON BAUXITE BONDS YET ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF GROSS INCOMPETENCE, DISHONESTY AND VISIONLESS FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

By defaulting on its payment of US $20M of bauxite bonds which fell due on 17 May, GOG has sent a clear message that it does not accept nor indeed respect the norms of financial rectitude. A Government that wants to borrow, locally or internationally, avoid a run on its currency or attract inward investment, must accept the markets’ imperatives. Clearly the PPP/C Government does not.

When you incur debts you diarise their maturity date. With proper financial planning you should know well in advance whether you will be able to meet the commitments so made. If you believe that you are unable to do so, sound commercial judgement, ethics, etiquette and practice dictates that you get in touch with the lenders, at the earliest opportunity and seek an extension or renegotiate. You do not wait until maturity, default and allow the lender to seek you out. And then you hide from them. It is no way to run a business and GUYANA is a huge business.

This is yet another example of gross incompetence and a ham-fisted government refusing to give timely explanation, much less comfort to a clutch of disappointed investor lenders. Commonsense if not common courtesy dictate that government should have spoken to bond holders well before the loans matured. Not having done so, confirms the arrogance and contempt with which the Government treats the investing public.

It allows the bonds to mature, does not honour its obligations and then behaves in a bully like manner by demanding Paris Club Terms. The Paris Club is not a legal entity, but an informal group that deals with government to government debt. It has its own context and is not an institution that deals with commercial debts.

It is a serious development and Guyana risks being locked in a policy framework in which cavalier and visionless financial management traps the economy in a low-growth, high-unemployment equilibrium. The Government’s addiction to “begging-bowl” practices, dependence on aid and grants is no substitute for the hot pursuit of private sector investment. It is the single most compelling reason why Guyana’s economy is in major difficulty today.

Government must come clean and pay up. There should be no question of inability to pay. We are told that Bank of Guyana’s reserves stand at US$250 Million. The very act of imposing a deferment or cancellation of repayment on the bond holders must necessarily lower the willingness of institutional lenders to lend to Guyana. It therefore reduces the amount of money Guyana will be allowed to borrow in the future and significantly increases the cost of such borrowing. Not surprisingly it also lowers growth as industrialists lower their investment plans still further. The adverse effect of this injudicious move by the Jagdeo government will guarantee more misery in the lives of ordinary Guyanese as the potential for real development, jobs and income evaporates rapidly.

It is strange the PPP/C Government finds it convenient to go to all lengths to meet its commitments to criminal enterprise, not withstanding the possible consequences for the nation but does not see it fit to meet its obligations to financial creditors.

We call on government to honour its obligation to the bond holders. Its recourse to Paris Clubs terms is at best disingenuous and at worse dishonest. What have Paris Club terms to do with commercial debt? Could Mr Kowlessar pleas e explain? In the interest of the nation’s financial credibility and well being we urge Jagdeo to organise a favourable and rapid response in minimizing the terrible damage already done.





HARASSMENT OF POLICE COMMISSIONER BY GOVERNMENT AND DRUG LORDS

The People’s National Congress Reform has noted with concern the campaign of the PPP/C Government with respect to the effort of organised crime to besmirch the character and reputation of the Commissioner of Police. This campaign is as a direct result of the efforts, of the security forces, to recover the missing AK 47’s and to dismantle the organised crime gangs.

The recent letter by Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, to the Commissioner of Police, purporting to be seeking an immediate explanation of the allegations made against him, is most worrying. It is well known that the basis of the allegations, against the Commissioner of Police, is the dubious recordings produced by criminal enterprise. Given the fact that today’s technology allows for limitless manipulation of recordings, these recording are certainly not a credible basis for allegations against the Commissioner of Police. Consequently, the Prime Minister’s letter must be viewed as an excursion into the dark that can only benefit criminal enterprise.

It is now public knowledge that, at the time of the writing of the letter, the Government was aware that the FBI had requested the original recording before it could authenticate the voices or the conversation. This is, no doubt, a significant development that renders the recording impotent as a basis for anything other than gossip and slander. The statement by Head of the Presidential Secretariat that the Government could no longer await the response of the FBI, is a clear indication that the PPP/C intends to proceed to act against the Commissioner without due process.

The fact that this letter was sent confirms the collaboration between the Bharrat Jagdeo Government and ‘narco’ enterprise.

Another source for concern is the timing of the Prime Minister’s letter. This letter was dispatched shortly after the joint services had recovered one of the missing AK 47’s from persons connected to organised crime who are involved in acts of terror against Guyanese citizens. The PNCR has also confirmed the joint services statement that criminal enterprise is actively recruiting ex-military persons in order to promote further terror and create instability. These developments should have been of grave concern to the PPP/C Government. However, the fact that the Government chose to ignore this most ominous development and, instead, attempt to weaken the authority of the Commissioner of Police shows clearly that either:

1. The PPP/C Government believes that it can benefit from instability and terror created by criminal enterprise. Or
2. The PPP/C Government is aware of and supports the efforts of organised crime in their fight against the security forces.

The PNCR is aware that PPP/C activists, in the villages of Good Intent, Sisters and Patentia, on the West Bank of Demerara, were actively involved in mobilization of persons to be part of the picketing exercise, in front of the Office of the President, sponsored by organised crime. These persons are being paid $3,000(three thousand) and $4,000 (four thousand) dollars for each day they appear on the picket line.

The PNCR now calls on the PPP/C to explain their connections with these picketing exercises which are organised with the intention of promoting the interests of organised crime. The PPP/C must also explain how its support for organised crime can promote the interests of the people of Guyana.

The PNCR takes this opportunity to call on the PPP/C to categorically condemn this latest attack by organised crime against the State and to renounce all connections with organised crime, narco barons and crime bosses.

ELECTION UPDATE

The PNCR has continued to monitor the progress of the Claims and Objections exercise of the GECOM and is still convinced that the time allocated for the exercise is wholly inadequate to ensure that eligible voters have a fair opportunity to get their names on the Voters List. The few Offices established for this exercise continue to pose tremendous difficulties to residents in various communities. The PNCR, therefore, again calls on GECOM to extend the period for this exercise and to establish more offices in close proximity to the areas where people live.

PNCR’s Scrutineers and field workers have also been able to identify hundreds of names, on the Lists of several Divisions, for which the identity and residence cannot be ascertained. Despite continuous checks those persons cannot be located and, in many cases, the persons were unknown to residents who lived in these areas for extended periods. Consequently, the PNCR has advised residents to object to these names, under the prescribed procedures established by GECOM.

The Party views, with amusement, the protestations of PPP General Secretary, Mr. Donald Ramotar, at the number of objections made over the last two days. It was the PPP which had suggested that the Claims and Objections period be used to ensure that there was an accurate Voters List. Why then is the PPP concerned over objections?

If indeed the persons exist and they can be identified then there should be no fear that these persons will be disenfranchised. The proof of the pudding is always in the eating.

The PPP is obviously afraid that these ghosts will be exposed. The PNCR, therefore, hopes that citizens will continue their ruthless scrutiny of those names and continue to have their Objections recorded by the GECOM staff responsible for their Division, to the names of persons they know do not exist in their Divisions.

The PNCR’s participation in the Claims and Objections process, however, is not a replacement for verification of the 2001 OLE that has been illegally added to the Preliminary List of Electors without any checks on the eligibility of those names for inclusion. It is surprising that GECOM, after weeks of deliberations on this issue, has failed to implement their own decision, communicated to political parties, to verify that List. It is also a matter of grave concern that Dr. Surujballi, and his happy band of three PPP-nominated Commissioners, continue to behave as though they can carry on the work of the GECOM without the involvement of Opposition nominated Commissioners. The PNCR believes that any purported decisions made, in the absence of these Commissioners, will be illegal, including the decision to print and publish a PLE that was made without the participation of the Opposition nominated Commissioners. The PNCR will, therefore, be approaching the Court to challenge those purported decisions.

The issue of verification of the 2001 OLE is an essential requirement for free, fair and transparent Elections and the PNCR, with other Opposition Parties, will, in the days and weeks ahead, intensify its campaign to ensure that verification is done.

People's National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana.
Thursday, 8 June, 2006