PRESS STATEMENT By People’s National Congress Reform Thursday, 6 July, 2006 Hall of Heroes Congress Place, Sophia.
• President Jagdeo’s absence from the 27th Caricom Heads Meeting is a dereliction of duty;
• The PNCR takes this opportunity to congratulate our young girls and boys on their performance at the 2006 Secondary Schools Entrance Examination;
• The PNCR will restructure the local economy to facilitate and encourage the economic involvement of the wider mass of the people;
• The PNCR rejects the support for flawed election processes by representatives of friendly countries;
• The Party continues the struggle for house-to-house verification as the only technical solution for the creation of a voters list of acceptable standards.
THE 27TH CARICOM HEADS OF GOVERNMENT MEETING: JAGDEO’S NON-ATTENDANCE - A SNOB TO CARICOM
The 27th Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government meeting has just been concluded in St. Kitts and Nevis. The PNCR wishes to congratulate the Caribbean Heads of Government and notes that it is of some significance that their meeting focused on crime and security.
The People’s National Congress Reform, however, notes the decision of the President of Guyana, Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo, not to attend the meeting under the pretext that he was involved in a Cabinet outreach in Region 5 even though the date of the Heads of Government meeting was known long in advance. More importantly, he knew that the meeting was focusing on crime and security, two issues that are of cardinal importance to Guyana and the Caribbean Region.
The People’s National Congress Reform is convinced that the President did not attend the summit because he is ashamed of and embarrassed by the unfolding of the Roger Khan scandal which is daily confirming his personal relationship with, as well as the government’s involvement in, the illegal activities of this alleged drug baron.
The PNCR notes that President Jagdeo has been silent on the Roger Khan scandal in which it is being clearly established that the government of Guyana has supported, condoned, if not has directly been involved in the extra judicial killings committed by the infamous phantom and death squads.
In addition, it should be noted that the Caricom Summit in St Kitts also included on its agenda agriculture issues. It was President Jagdeo, as Lead Head of Government with responsibility for Agriculture, who, in addressing CARICOM Ministers of Agriculture at the opening of the Special Meeting of the CARICOM Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) in January 2006, urged his colleagues to pay greater attention to agriculture and proposed that the issue be dealt with at the 17th Inter-Sessional Meeting of Heads of Government. Having elevated the issue to the level of the Heads and taking cognizance of the importance of agriculture to Guyana and the Region, the reason he offered for his non-attendance is even more unacceptable and without credibility.
The President’s decision to skip the summit is indicative of his lack of commitment to Guyana and the Caribbean Region and must be seen as contemptuous of his Caricom colleagues and a clear dereliction of his duty.
CONGRATULATIONS TO THOSE WHO WROTE THE SECONDARY SCHOOLS ENTRANCE EXAMINATION
The PNCR takes this opportunity to congratulate our young girls and boys on their performance at the 2006 SSEE. We wish to offer a word of praise also to parents, guardians and teachers who would have made tremendous effort and sacrifice in preparing these young minds for this exam.
As always, we join the nation in taking our hats off to those who did exceptionally well. For those who were far less outstanding, we call on them and their parents not to believe that this one examination gives a final and total commentary on the talent and potential of these young people. Our children must continue to be loved, nurtured, protected and provided with a range of opportunities to accommodate their diverse talents and interests.
While we celebrate and honour our top performers, the PNCR calls on the Government to publish in summary statistical form the results of all 18,000-odd students who wrote the exam. The focus on and euphoria over our top performers at times can mislead the nation into believing all is well with our Primary Schools. Only an analysis of all the results can give us a true understanding of where our primary education system is today.
THE PNCR’S VISION OF CREATING AN OPPORTUNITY SOCIETY
The PNCR’s vision is to create an opportunity society, in which we will put in place the conditions to give Guyanese of all strata the chance to choose from a multitude of pathways to their personal fulfillment and success. The goal of this vision is to tap into and unleash the talents, energies, aspirations and dreams of every individual Guyanese by providing them with a range of profitable and self-fulfilling avenues of endeavour.
An opportunity society means, first of all, opportunities for economic participation and advancement. The PNCR will restructure the local economy to facilitate and encourage the economic involvement of a wider mass of the people. Not only will a PNCR Government work to build a larger and vibrant economy, we will also provide ordinary Guyanese with a wide array of choices of how they can participate in the economy, beyond being just wage earners.
We will create conditions to allow Guyanese to participate as share or equity holders, joint ventures, investors, small business owners, contractors, and self-employed technicians and craftsmen. In other words, under the PNCR Government, the economy will be a stakeholder economy. We will foster the rapid expansion of entrepreneurial spirit and activity. The end result is that ordinary citizens will have opportunities to be productive and make money in several ways.
A stakeholder economy would be underpinned by the PNCR’s commitment to building a just society, to recognising private property, and to the recognition of the profit motive and the central role of the marketplace. The unifying idea is however inclusion and wider economic participation of ordinary Guyanese, as wage-earners, will continue to exist in our economy; our goal will be to add thousands of good jobs yearly as the economy expands.
Our vision for an opportunity society, however, goes beyond the economic participation of citizens. We will also create the conditions for Guyanese to develop their individual talents in the arts, culture and sports. Our nation has declined drastically in the last decade in these human endeavours, whether as a private pursuit for recreation or for public performance. The PNCR will provide opportunities for Guyanese to develop their talents through training. We will revive community, regional and national concerts, widen the range of sports and games now available in schools and communities, and reactivate regional and national festivals. We will rebuild our corps of music, dance, painting, and sports teachers. Our school curriculum will include opportunities for students to follow these pursuits.
In the opportunity society under the PNCR Government, no longer will Guyanese live a stifled existence, with stunted dreams and unfulfilled hopes. We want to build a society of happy and satisfied people, a society abuzz with people pursuing economic and social activities and creative endeavours.
THE PNCR REJECTS COVER UP OF GEOCOM ERRORS
The People’s National Congress Reform rejects the position voiced by the diplomatic representatives of certain countries on electoral matters in Guyana. We have observed a consistent pattern of attempting to cover up incompetence and malfeasance in Guyana’s electoral process. These representatives were the ones who paid for the post 2001 experts that declared the 2001 voters list the product of the best database that Guyana has produced. The PNCR has posed one question in this regard: why is it that at the 2001 elections thousands of persons on elections day could not locate their names in the division where they resided and registered? No satisfactory answer has ever been ventured by any of these imported experts. Ambassador Bullen and others are therefore faced with the dilemma of either standing by the obviously deficient finding of the highly-paid experts or admitting that they did not get their monies’ worth.
We believe that the need for free and fair elections in Guyana is too important to the long term stability of Guyana for the PNCR to merely accept the obviously mistaken perceptions of experts and diplomats who choose to ignore the truth. In the end, the future and welfare of our country cannot be more important to them than it is to us.
The chorus of the friendly diplomatic corps has been that their remit is to render technical assistance. The PNCR contends that the dislocations of 2001 election and the reoccurrence of this problem in 2006 are technical matters. These matters are not a figment of the minds of the PNCR. We supplied GECOM with seventy-five examples of such dislocations on the 2006 PLE. Rather than accept this as evidence of a wider problem, GECOM undertook to correct the errors in the sample alone. The commission has refused to accept the need for determining the cause and scale of the problem.
GECOM`s former IT Manager identified the need for the total scrapping of the database of which the 2001 voters list is a product. That was technical advice. Gocool Boodhoo, the Chief Elections Officer, recommended house-to house verification in the face of the introduction of continuous registration. This too was technical advice. Why have these pieces of technical advice been ignored?
It is GECOM through the PPP/C - nominated commissioners and its Chairman Dr Surujbally, who have politicized the matter by refusing to take all of the technical advice that was offered and who are proceeding along a course of action that is inimical to the national interest.
Our Party has not been able to determine why a flawed, perhaps rigged election is in the interest of those represented by Mr. Bullen. Our case has a solid and justifiable technical and legal basis. It is in everyone’s interest to prevent the political fallout that will occur if these problems are not resolved. We will continue the fight for house-to-house verification as the only technical and legal solution for the creation of a voters list of acceptable standards.
People's National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Thursday, 6 July, 2006
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