PRESS STATEMENT By Mr Jerome Khan, MP Member - Central Executive Committee of the PNCR At the Press Conference on Thursday 2002 May 30 Hall of Heroes, Congress Place, Sophia.



THE DEATH OF POLICE CONSTABLE SHERWIN ALLEYNE:

The PNCR deplores at the recent attack on four policemen on the East Coast of Demerara which resulted in the death of Constable Sherwin Alleyne and injuries to others.

The PNCR wishes to express its profound sympathy to the relatives of Constable Alleyne and to the officers and ranks of the Guyana Police Force. We pray for the full and speedy recovery of the other officers wounded in this deadly attack. At the same time our Party hopes that every effort will be made to speedily apprehend the perpetrators of this vile act and subject them to the full weight of the law.

The gunning down of another policeman is indicative of a disturbing and dangerous trend which is understandably the cause of much public unease, and a challenge to the ingenuity and capacity of our law enforcement agencies.

This unsettling incident raises some troubling questions about the operational preparedness and efficiency of the Guyana Police Force to combat the upsurge in violent and other crimes

The regime and its principal spokesmen Jagdeo and Luncheon should stop playing the blame game and look seriously at the real factors which are undermining the performance, public image and morale of the GPF. We urge the regime to stop undermining the morale and professionalism of our law enforcement agencies by continuing to deny them the tools and other resources to enable them to deliver the professional and competent service and protection which all Guyanese desire and deserve

The PNCR has consistently argued that the heavy-handed and confrontational approach of the Black Clothes Police are not only of questionable legality, but have alienated the Force from significant sections of the community thus robbing it of community support which is one of the essential elements for successful policing. For this the regime has branded the PNC/R terroristic, anti-police and pro-crime. The PNCR is decidedly none of these things.

The fact of the matter is that these extreme fulminations by the mouthpieces of Freedom House are a mere smoke screen to distract public attention from the regime’s responsibility for deliberately limiting the resources it has put at the disposal of the GPF and its brazen use of the Black Clothes to provide protection, enforcement and other sinister services for its friends in the drugs and back-track trade.

It was amusing to hear President Jagdeo proclaim at his last press conference that he was hearing for the first time of the involvement of the Black Clothes in the visa selling racket of former US diplomat Thomas Carroll. If this is true, then it must be that the President’s all too frequent absences abroad must be keeping him out of touch with day-to-day Guyanese reality. Because the investigations into Carroll’s activities were well publicised as were his links to certain police officers. The US sent investigators from the FBI to Guyana to meticulously check out the nature and scope of Carroll’s scheme. A member of the Black Clothes actually travelled to the US to give evidence in the case, and yet the President feigns ignorance!

Why does the regime defend the evident excesses of the Black Clothes and rationalise its every action? These are questions that need to be asked by John Public and, we strongly suggest, the media.

The PNCR once again repeats its demand for a commission of enquiry into the operations of the GPF and the standing down of the Black Clothes police while a thorough investigation of their operations is urgently undertaken.

THE INCREASING ECONOMIC BURDENS BEING INFLICTED ON LONG SUFFERING GUYANESE:

The PNC/R notes that the worsening of our economic situation is not only reflected in the problems and difficulties faced by business people and firms but more poignantly in the pressures on ordinary hard working Guyanese.

As we move about the country, we find that in town and every district, the working people of this nation are facing increased burdens as they try to cope with the spiralling cost of living and the day-to-day struggle for survival in this land.

The cost of food and other necessities keeps rising even though government propaganda tries to deny this. What is worse is the fact that some of the greatest pressure on the pockets of Guyanese comes from utilities under the control of the government or in which the government is a major shareholder.

The Guyanese family continues to be pauperised by the ravages of the spiralling cost of water through rises in water rates, rises in telephone rates and another proposed increase in electricity rates. GPL is now applying for another 13.91% rate hike.

At the same time, we note that the President's undertaking to review the income tax threshold has gone the way of so many of his other promises. Instead of relief, the Government has increased the tax burden on that growing class of Guyanese, the working poor. It is only an uncaring and callous government that would insist on maintaining an Income-tax threshold which is below the statutory minimum wage, whilst their friends pay little or no taxes as they grow rich from corruption and other anti national activities.

As deepening and widespread poverty stalks our country, the burdens of life in Guyana are getting more and more unbearable, particularly for the small people in our society.

THE PROTESTS OF THE BAUXITE WORKERS AND MEMBERS OF THE BAUXITE COMMUNITIES:

The PNC/R fully supports the protest action being mounted by the bauxite industry workers and other members of the Bauxite Communities of Kwakwani, Linden and Everton who face the prospect of the destruction of their livelihoods and their communities and a dismal future for themselves and their families. All as a consequence of the political spite, incompetence and corruption of the PPP/C regime and their willing lackeys.

These Guyanese have shown their grit and determination by their willingness to leave their homes and communities and mount a vigil in front of the residence of the Prime Minister. They have vowed to remain there until the Government takes positive action to correct the bad governance which has created their misery and suffering. We salute them and call on all Guyanese to support their just cause. Let us all join them and demand good governance from the regime.

The President and the Prime Minister are resorting to lies and deception to mask their evil actions which are designed to punish the Bauxite Communities because they are not traditional PPP/C support areas. How much more wicked could they be?

They claim that they reached agreement with the BERMINE workers. Were the Unions part of the discussions and a party to the claimed agreement?

Mr Sam Hinds has been the instrument of doom for the Bauxite Industry in Guyana. He has set out by hook and crook to fulfil his own dismal prophesies for the Industry.

He must explain to the Nation how it is that the US$26Mn earmarked by the World Bank for the rehabilitation of LINMINE’s plant and equipment was spent through MinProc and the company was left worse off than before that expenditure! Where did the money go? What was it spent on? Having inflicted the fatal damage on LINMINE through his failure to monitor MinProc, the Prime Minister and the regime has steadfastly refused to implement any structured programme for restoring the competitive capabilities of the company. They have done everything they could to pronounce the last rites over LINMINE. The impact on the Linden Community has been nothing short of devastating.

Having almost completed his assigned task for Linmine, the Prime Minister has turned on BERMINE with a vengeance. He and the regime have used ABC and Viceroy as their final instruments for the destruction of BERMINE. They have been systematically undermining the markets for Bermine’s products by devices such as the drastic reduction of the price of Metallurgical Grade Bauxite (MAZ) and, through the appointment of Viceroy as ABC’s exclusive sales agent for Chemical Grade Bauxite(CGB) in the USA, they have been undermining BERMINE’s CGB market by offering significantly reduced prices to their customers together with inducements such as consignment sales ,etc.

Mr Hinds should explain to the Nation why he is using a State owned company, ABC, to undermine another State owned company, BERMINE. The motive has now been revealed by himself, the President and that bombastic mouthpiece, Dr Luncheon – the regime wants to implement the ALCOA concept which will close Everton and transfer the bauxite reserves of BERMINE to ABC, while sending about 600 workers on the breadline. How much more callous could they get?

Could the President and Prime Minister explain for our benefit their claim that the US$60Mn debt, which was created by Reynolds, has been written off. In that case, why does ALCOA still hold eligible Preference shares for that value? The Prime Minister and the regime are prepared to deprive this already poor and increasingly impoverished nation of possible revenues from BERMINE’s sales of MAZ, CGB and Abrasive Calcined Grade Bauxite (AAC). They are imposing a high price on this nation in the pursuit of their wicked agenda.

The Prime Minister’s latest act is to give Viceroy a virtual monopoly for large shipments of bauxite from Guyana and to use the uncertainties created by his studied indecision to induce ALCOA to cancel their contract for 200.000mt/ MAZ in 2002 and very likely 2003. The obvious intention is to deprive BERMINE of its cash resources so as to speed up the implementation of their dastardly plan. The people of Kwakwani, and Everton are the sacrificial lambs.

The Prime Minister and Winston Brassington are claiming that Viceroy already had exclusive rights to the Berbice River Loading Basin. This is a blatant lie. Let us examine the facts!

The Government of Guyana, by a letter, dated 1990 May 23, signed by the then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Planning and Development, Mr W. H. Parris, made the following offer to Viceroy Shipping;

Paragraph B.2. states:
Viceroy Shipping limited (The Transshipment Operator and Ocean Carrier), subject to it’s dredging the loading pit and its approaches to the channel, will be given the exclusive use of the said loading pit for a period of ten (10) years from the first transhipment of bauxite from Aroaima to the Ocean Carrier.

The loading pit or loading basin and the approaches to the channel were dredged by ABC and not Viceroy. Therefore, what is the basis for granting Viceroy exclusive use of the loading pit or basin?

Mr Hinds and his henchman Winston Brassington have made substantial material changes to the letter referred to, including the following amendment to Paragraph B.2. to read:
Viceroy Shipping limited ( the Transshipment Operator and Ocean Carrier) is hereby given exclusive use of the Basin, Mooring System, Turning Circle and J,P. Knight is given the exclusive use of the Barge Staging Area for the calender year 2002 and, if ABC exercises its option for the calender year 2003, for that year as well.

The Prime Minister and his merry band are lying to the Guyanese People. Why is this so?

Viceroy is claiming ownership of the loading basin. Who did they pay for it? How much was paid and when?

It should be evident to all but the most blind why the Prime Minister has done everything in his power to ensure that the Joint Bauxite Resuscitation Committee is sidelined and prevented from being an obstacle to his designs. Acts of bad faith has been the order of the relationship between the regime and the Committee.

Tel true day will come!

UNILATERAL APPOINTMENT OF CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSIONS:

The PNC/R notes the confusion and contradictions in the position of the regime’s spokespersons on the appointment of the constitutional commissions.

On the one hand we have heard and understood the threat from the Cabinet Secretary, the agregious Dr. Luncheon, that the regime has dreams of making unilateral appointments of members of key constitutional commissions. On the other hand, we have heard his boss, the President, soft peddle on that threat and assure the nation that he has no intention of breaching the Constitution, as implied by the braggadocio of Dr Luncheon.

This confusion reinforces our view that the government is disorganised and in disarray, falling into greater and more profound disorder with each passing day.

We wish to reiterate our position that we in the PNC/R would treat such a move as a grave escalation in the political situation and would react accordingly were such a threat to be carried out.


People’s National Congress/ Reform
Congress Place, Sophia.
May 30th, 2002