PRESS STATEMENT By People’s National Congress Reform Thursday, 3 August, 2006 Hall of Heroes Congress Place, Sophia.




SUMMARY:
• The PPP/C has begun its dirty tricks campaign in a futile attempt to cause disruption;
• The PNCR-1G Government has concrete plans to modernize and improve the Disciplined Forces and to restore safe communities;
• Under YES, the PNCR–1G will mount intense community based Employment Training (ET) that will deliver skills to so called unemployable youth so as to allow them to enter the job market;
• The PNCR-1G Government has a grand new deal for the cultural sector for ONE GUYANA.

ELECTIONS

The PNCR-1G has launched its election campaign after a successful Special Congress at our headquarters at Sophia and a massive rally at the Square of the Revolution. The Special Congress endorsed the platform for the new PNCR-1G Government emphasizing the measures and reforms that need to be taken to rekindle investment, spark growth in the economy, generate jobs, restore hope and opportunity to our young people and deal effectively and ruthlessly with the problems of crime and security. The PNCR-1G will be fighting a positive and disciplined campaign so that we can ensure that nothing untoward besmirches our march to office. In our campaign, the PNCR-1G theme will emphasize the need for all Guyana to come together to take our country forward and to rescue our economy from the morass of economic stagnation and violence in which it is presently mired.

The PPP/C has however already been up to its old dirty tricks. During a public meeting of the PNCR-1G last night 2nd of August in Kitty, a truck playing PPP/C jingles drove up and attempted to cause disruption. The community acted with restraint and the police escorted the offending truck with efficiency and aplomb. The PNCR congratulates the police detail for its professionalism and expresses the confidence that this will continue for the rest of the election season.


CRIME AND SECURITY

The PPP/C Government continues to undermine the Disciplined Forces adding to the insecurity of vulnerable communities.

To increase public confidence in the police is also to increase their effectiveness. Jagdeo’s government is well aware of this but it is their intention to undermine the police and weaken their resolve to fight crime in a systematic and organized way. In this perverse and diabolical manner the PPP/C government feels it benefits from the existence of insecure individuals, families and entire communities particularly those on the lower East Coast and in Berbice.

When Jagdeo keeps, almost in a threatening manner, promising to revamp the police his aim is to add to the climate of uncertainty and low self-esteem in the Police Force. The government since the passing of Dr. Jagan has been locked into this process of undermining the disciplined services and is incapable of behaving differently.

Clearly there is a vacuum in new thinking about how to tackle the drivers of criminality or to respond to the new threats of organized crime. This failure to support and ensure proper policing came to a head during the Roger Khan saga. This was more than a failure of political will. Quite simply the Jagdeo government has been the beneficiary of organized crime and the ABC countries are well aware of this.

Crime has risen dramatically since the departure of Dr. Jagan as President and the Jagdeo Presidency was thrust on the nation. Foreign governments, though largely silent, no longer doubt that there is a relationship between the rise in crime in Guyana and the government in power at the time. By bringing negative focus on the police with threats to ‘revamp’ and deal with them after elections, Jagdeo is hoping to deflect attention and blame to a long suffering, ill equipped police force. He is attempting to set the police apart so that Guyanese expect them and them alone, to tackle crime.

Once in Government the PNCR-1G will bring to an abrupt end this process whereby our police men and women are being undermined and victimized by a callous administration. We will immediately set about improving the service the public receives from the police. We will tackle some fairly deep-seated problems in the way law enforcement is organized and managed in this country. Some of the tasks will be to radically improve police working conditions. Better salaries and remuneration will help, but real change will only come about with the type of training, education, motivation and leadership that inspire best practice at all levels of the force.

A whole raft of confidence building measures will be introduced to improve public trust in police and dismantle the many obstacles created by the PPP/C to reduce police effectiveness in protecting the good people of this country.

The PNCR-1G has concrete plans to modernize and improve the Disciplined Forces and to restore safe communities. Some of these are:

• Tighter gun and knife control;
• Creative interventions by police;
• Intensified intelligence;
• Increasing disciplined forces firepower;
• Increased mobile patrols by motor vehicles, 4-wheel drive vehicles, motorcycles, horseback and armed foot patrols;
• More effective communications systems;
• Introduction of a National Deportee Database and fingerprint identification system;
• Improving technology, with enhanced fingerprint and DNA capability and the introduction of Automatic Number Plate Recognition which will enable officers in the field to identify known offenders from their licence plates;
• Introduction of modern IT infrastructure, so that people working in law enforcement have easy access to standard office applications such as email and internet-based services.

We believe it is important that the disciplined forces should properly reflect the ethnic balance in the community. We will not leave this to chance but will set about creating fully representative Disciplined Forces.

PNCR-1G YES PLAN IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF ITS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

The People’s National Congress Reform takes this opportunity to assure the nation that it has secured a number of investments that will flow shortly after the August 28 Elections when the PNCR-1G assumes Government. A number of “Early Bird” investors are lined up to come in very quickly to kick start the PNCR–1G job creation programme. These Early Bird investors are likely to be involved in the mining, tourism, financial services, education and agricultural sectors.

The PNCR–1G programme to construct a network of international highways, a modern airport and a deep water harbour using hundreds of million of United States dollars of private capital will also ensure the creation of thousands of jobs in the short term.

These investments will trigger sustained growth and set Guyana on the road to development.

The PNCR–1G is aware of the critical role of human resource development in the process of growth and development. The quality of the human resource has significant impacts on sustaining economic growth and ensuring international competitiveness of Guyana’s productive sector. Labour productivity and growth are affected when the labour force is unskilled and poorly educated.

Guyana’s small population makes it imperative that the entire working age population is productively involved. It does not matter whether these workers are unemployable because of poor education and low skills. Unemployed workers do not contribute to national production and as a result limit growth.

In Guyana the average years of schooling of the adult population is just above six (6) years. As a result a, significant section of the working age population is poorly skilled and poorly educated. This problem affects a significantly disproportionate number of our young people.

The PNCR–1G Youth Empowerment Scheme (YES) is therefore not a stand alone programme as an end in itself. YES is an integral part of the PNCR–1G economic transformation programme. Under YES the PNCR–1G will mount intense community based Employment Training (ET) that will deliver skills to so called unemployable youth, so as to allow them to enter the job market. A number of Youth Advisory Offices (YAO) will also be established in communities across the country so as to give support and guidance to young people.

Voluntary National Service (VNS) will also be a major source of training for young people. Training in areas ranging from mechanical engineering to electronics and craft will be the focus of the VNS. In the short term, the role of the VNS will be to prepare young people, our major human resource asset, to supply services to international investors.

The PNCR–1G Youth Empowerment Scheme is a declaration that young people are important economic assets that cannot be allowed to be unproductive. PNCR–1G is committed to the development of our young people and as a result will put the kind of resources into YES to ensure rapid skills transformation among people.

The issues of education quality, relevance and access are also of great significance. In this regard the PNCR–1G will take a number of bold initiatives to transform the education sector. The PNCR–1G will:

1. Transform the primary education programme with the introduction of universal IT education.
2. Introduce modern teaching techniques through massive investment in teacher development. Major emphasis will be placed on On-The-Job training of teachers.
3. Improve the quality of secondary education so as to increase the level of enrollment in tertiary education. IT labs and science labs in all secondary schools will be a major priority of the PNCR–1G Government.
4. In the first 100 days give teachers a substantial increase in salary. PNCR–1G will also enter into a multi year salaries agreement with the GTU which it will honour.
5. Reequip the technical institutes to cater for technological advances. A number of technical institutes will be built across the country as a matter of urgency.
6. Scrap fee paying at the University of Guyana. University education will once again be free.
7. Reintroduce the Guyana Scholarship to ensure that our best and brightest can be trained at leading universities in North America and Europe. Each year at least the five best performers at “A” Level Examinations and Five top performers in the first degree programme at the University of Guyana will be given the opportunity to pursue studies at a university of their choice at Government expense.
8. Support will be given to the University of Guyana, including the Berbice Campus, to re-equip its laboratories and to improve the medical school. Salaries of university lecturers will be improved significantly. PNCR–1G believes that the country must pay the kind of salaries to keep the best and brightest minds at our university.

Over the next several years the PNCR–1G Government will continue with bold initiative to promote human resource development. The education and training policies of the PNCR–1G Government will focus on developing the knowledge and skills of current and future workers, especially in the application of new technologies used by international firms.

ONE GUYANA

The One Guyana Platform is based on the conviction that the success of the movement will be based on the culture of unity and tolerance which we need to develop in Guyana and have developed in the past. Guyana made noble strides after independence in terms of enabling all of us to become aware of our cultural diversity and regarding that diversity as a strength and source of pride. We have lost the momentum towards that goal and for ONE Guyana to be a reality, that vision must be resurrected.

To that end, the new PNCR-1G Government will rekindle the range of institutions and events which are associated with the celebration of diversity. Institutions such as the National Guyfesta programmes which enabled us to unearth the wide variety of cultural manifestations and skills from every type of community which exists in Guyana will be reintroduced as a matter of urgency. The National Dance Company will be restored to its former glory and its size and scope extended. The teaching and practice of arts and culture in the education system will be restored and the production and use of local patriotic compositions will once again be given strong support. Popular arts, including drama and community theatre will be reactivated.

The One Guyana Culture will also depend upon the resuscitation of the popular music industry in Guyana. Sadly, Guyana has fallen behind our Caribbean neighbours in this sphere and the PNCR-1G Government will make the support and protection of the music industry, in all its forms, an urgent and immediate priority in our first months in office. We recognise that the popular arts are important to development of the national culture, but it is also a viable industry in itself which has proved to be a strong provider of employment and earner of foreign exchange in many Caribbean countries. Key to this will be the enactment and enforcement of modern legislation to protect the intellectual property rights of artists, creators and performers. Further, the expansion of our tourism industry as part of our investment drive will need the contribution of the cultural industry to support and brand our country in the global market. The PNCR-1G government has a grand new deal for the cultural sector for ONE GUYANA


People's National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana.
Thursday, 3 August, 2006