PRESS STATEMENT By People’s National Congress Reform Thursday, 5 October, 2006 Media Centre Congress Place, Sophia.




SUMMARY:
• The President should know that the people of Guyana are no longer fooled by his speeches. Only tangible actions will demonstrate his commitment to democracy;
• The PNCR will continue to treat the Parliament as unconstitutional until the matters which were brought before the Courts by the Party have been adjudicated;
• The PNCR expresses its sympathy to the families, relatives and friends of the victims while, at the same time, it recognizes that these expressions are meaningless in the absence concrete steps being taken by the Government to curb the situation;
• The Party has chosen to honour some of its senior stalwarts, from the East Coast Demerara District of Region No. 4, at a simple ceremony during which Party Leader, Mr. R.H.O. Corbin, will offer words of thanks, as well as present special tokens to them as Senior Citizens Month begins;
• The National Congress of Women (NCW) began its 49th anniversary celebrations with a Church Service giving Thanks to God for the 49 years of service to the people of Guyana and more especially to the women and children of Guyana.

JAGDEO POLICY SPEECH TO THE NINTH PARLIAMENT JUST ANOTHER SET OF EMPTY PROMISES

The arrogance displayed by President Jagdeo in summoning the Ninth Parliament provides no comfort that the leopard has changed its spots. His policy speech is just another of his empty promises in the absence of concrete implementation.

The PNCR, therefore, views his speech to Parliament as a mere regurgitation of commitments previously made and not met. In his speech, President Jagdeo painted a picture of a government willing to engage in meaningful consultations with stakeholders to resolve issues and move Guyana forward. Yet, the manner in which he summoned the Parliament, breaching his own commitment to have a legal team advice on the constitutional crisis after consultations with the Leader of the PNCR, is nothing short of arrogance.

This first act exposes his lack of seriousness and real commitment to consultations. No Guyanese could take seriously the many grandiose plans he outlined for his government. The President should know that the people of Guyana are no longer fooled by his speeches. Only tangible actions will demonstrate his commitment to democracy. Many of the Parliamentary reforms to which he referred were agreed on since the Herdmanston Accord and subsequently, translated into a timeframe for implementation in the Communiqué signed by him on 6 May 2003.

Now more than three years later Jagdeo presents these objectives as though they are of recent vintage.

What Guyanese expected to hear was:
• how soon he proposes to correct his breach of the Constitution by his unilateral appointment of the Integrity Commission?
• when would he heed the direction of the Auditor General to pay into the Consolidated Fund the money transfered to the Government by the Guyana Lottery Company but which he now, contrary to the laws of Guyana, personally disburses from an account under the control of the Office of the President?
• when would he observe the constitutional requirements for the appointment of a Chancellor of the Judiciary and retreat from his machinations to control the Judiciary?
• when would he remove the Government monopoly of state radio and grant licenses for the establishment of private radio stations?
• when would he enable equitable access to the state control media (print and electronic) to become a reality?

These matters do not have to await any deliberation in the National Assembly for their resolution and implementation since this falls within the direct responsibility of the Executive. Guyanese would also have wished to know how soon he would implement his widely touted crime reduction plan to provide the level of public security necessary for Guyana’s economic progress.

Guyanese can have no faith, therefore, in his grandiose plans outlined in the Parliament unless and until they see evidence of his seriousness in implementing matters agreed upon several years ago. The pomp and ceremony which attended the ceremonial opening of the Ninth Parliament, which has been deemed constitutional by the Chief Justice Mr. Carl Singh, would go down on record as another of the many charades to which we have become accustomed over the years from the PPP/C.

PNCR WILL PURSUE A VIGOROUS PARLIAMENTARY AGENDA

The PNCR has already outlined its position with respect to the Ninth Parliament (see Press Statement of 20 September 2006). We will continue to treat the Parliament as unconstitutional until the matters which we brought before the Courts have been adjudicated. While the Court imposed constitutionality will enable his Government to pass laws and make decisions, the PNCR reserves the right to challenge their validity. In keeping with our stated commitment to the Guyanese electorate who supported the Party at the polls, the PNCR will not allow the PPP/C to go unchallenged in the National Assembly making laws that can affect the people of Guyana. In this regard, the PNCR has set some prime objectives for its Parliamentary agenda, among them are

– Ensuring the autonomy of entities, such as the Office of the Auditor General and the National Assembly in consonant with the constitutional provisions. In this regard, the Financial Management and Accountability Act of 2003 which declared the Parliament Office, the Office of the Auditor General and the Guyana Elections Commission as Budget Agencies, answerable to the Office of the President, must be amended.
– Expediting the appointment of the Rights Commissions in accordance to Resolution No. 17 passed since 8 May 2003. These Commissions include the Human Rights Commission, Women and Gender Equality Commission, the Indigenous Peoples Commission and the Rights of the Child Commission.
– The PNCR also expects that the President must demonstrate his seriousness about the role of the Human Rights Commission by ensuring a review of the remuneration that will be paid to the Chairman of the Human Rights Commission as suggested by the Leader of the Opposition more than two years ago;
– The early appointment of the Public Procurement Commission, thus removing the political interference and discriminatory practices that still prevails in the award of contracts;
– The implementation of the recommendations of the Special Select Committee, unanimously approved by the National Assembly, which examined the Reports of Sir Michael Davies and the Bradford Associates, for the strengthening of the oversight functions of the National Assembly;
– Ensuring that proper professional research and documentation support is provided to Parliamentarians, particularly for the work of the Sector Committees. In this regard, the PNCR intends to use the Sector Committees to carefully scrutinize and monitor the functioning of various government agencies; and
– Modernization of the Parliamentary library.

Priorities on our legislative agenda are: -

– The speedy implementation of the Broadcast Legislation to facilitate the appointment of a Broadcasting Authority to regulate and issue licenses to television and radio stations;
– The laws and regulations to ensure Local Government reform and settling the issue of fiscal transfers to Local Government bodies without political bias;
– Legislation to ensure freedom of information to citizens so that citizens would have the right to have information on the dealings of the Executive;
– Legislation to provide remuneration for the members of the Regional Democratic Councils to discharge their legal obligations in accordance with the mandate given them by the electorate at the elections.

The PNCR also intends to vigorously pursue the implementations of the many recommendations of the Disciplined Forces Commission with respect to the improvement of the quality of service by the Guyana Police Force, thus enhancing the public security situation in Guyana.

Other matters to be pursued include: -

- the adequate allocation of resources in the budget to enable the economic empowerment of the poor through the urgent rehabilitation of the physical infrastructure in numerous villages and communities that have been subjected to marginalization and the discriminatory allocation of resources in the past;

- The active pursuit of programmes and projects aimed at reducing the serious unemployment situation that exists in Guyana.

The people of Guyana will no longer rely on empty promises, already the people of Linden have began to display their impatience over the seizure of their Co-op societies on a flimsy excuse by the Co-operative Department. They are aware of the urgent efforts being made, at this time, to hand over their society to a private company in which PPP/C officials are the key shareholders. They are not prepared to allow the PPP/C administration to trample on their rights. Meanwhile, they intend to struggle for the improvement in the water supply situation where typhoid is rampant while the Linden Hospital lacks even the basic materials to test patients for typhoid. Today hundreds have begun a protest demonstration outside of the Electricity Office at Burnham Drive, Linden.

The government must act now to avoid the deterioration of the situation. The PNCR calls on President Jagdeo to convert his words into meaningful action.

JAGDEO IMPOTENT IN DEALING WITH THE CRIME AND SECURITY SITUATION

The continuing violent crime situation which has resulted in the loss of several lives in the last three weeks clearly illustrates Jagdeo’s continuing impotence in dealing with the public security situation, in accordance with his grandiose promises during the elections campaign.

While the PNCR expresses its sympathy to the families, relatives and friends of the victims, it recognizes that these expressions are meaningless in the absence of concrete steps being taken by the government to curb the situation.

The Leader of the PNCR, following the murder of Minister Sash Sawh had written to President Jagdeo suggesting an urgent summit of all political leaders and stakeholders to deal with this situation that affects all Guyanese, irrespective of race and political affiliation. In his usual arrogant mode, President Jagdeo has, to date, failed to see the significance and usefulness of this summit. Despite all his pronouncement about inclusivity, he unilaterally proceeded to employ a United States Policeman, with questionable credentials. He did so at a time when, as a candidate during an elections campaign, he had no moral rights to commit any future Government to such lawless action.

In doing so, he disregarded all the rules, regulations and conditionalities of the IDB and other financial institutions, the standard advertising procedures which should be a norm of Government and the many offers of assistance and support from friendly governments. The sad conclusion, however, is that it is the people of Guyana who are now experiencing the adverse consequences. The PNCR calls on the Jagdeo administration to cease its adventurism and act responsibly, in accordance with the oath which he took when he was sworn in to uphold the constitution which includes the protection of the citizens of this country.

History would not judge him kindly for his irresponsibly and inept handling of the security situation. The PNCR will make no new recommendations since all that is needed to be done is contained in previous recommendations made by the Party and in many other publicly available reports.

HONOURING SENIOR CITIZENS

Senior Citizens month 2006, has begun and once again the Party’s Human Services and Welfare Department has planned a series of activities especially for the elderly. Today 5th October the Party has chosen to honour some of its senior stalwarts from the East Coast Demerara District of Region No. 4, at a simple ceremony during which Party Leader Mr. R.H.O. Corbin will offer words of thanks, as well as present special tokens to them.

On October 11 and 18, 2006, presentations will be made to the Uncle Eddie’s Home and the Archer’s Home respectively. It will be Breakfast at the Palms on Sunday 22nd October and on that same day Luncheons will be hosted in Regions 5, 6 and 10 simultaneously for seniors of those regions. The curtain will come down on Sunday October 29, 2006 with a Panel discussion among seniors on Nation Watch, the Party’s Weekly Programme on HBTV Channel 9.

NCW CELEBRATES ITS 49TH ANNIVERSARY

The National Congress of Women (NCW) began its 49th anniversary celebrations with a Church Service on Sunday, October 1, 2006 at the Glory Light Full Gospel Church, Prince William Street Plaisance, East Coast Demerara. Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform, Mr. Robert Corbin, Mrs. Carol Corbin and members of the Leadership of the Party joined the women in giving Thanks to God for the 49 years of service to the people of Guyana and more especially to the women and children of Guyana. Apostle Jason Yorrick and the clergy were delighted to minister to the packed congregation.

Founded on Wednesday October 5, 1957, during the Party’s Congress, at a time when the People’s Progressive Party (Burnhamite faction) had just lost an election, women of the caliber of Winifred Gaskin, Jane Phillips-Gay, Hyacinth Godett, Raj Latchmansingh and Dorothy Taitt, among others banded themselves to form the Women’s Auxiliary of the People’s National Congress.

Forty-nine years later, with name changes to “Women’s Revolutionary Socialist Movement” and now “National Congress of Women”, and under similar circumstances as in 1957, the women of the Party are more committed to struggle for the empowerment of the women of Guyana.

Other activities in observance of the organisation’s 49th anniversary include:

A visit to the Women’s Prison in New Amsterdam, on Thursday October 5, 2006 for a planned social interaction during which some items for personal hygiene will be distributed to all the inmates, a donation of knitting thread to the knitting class and Baby hampers to those inmates with babies will also be made;

A concert in the Botanic Gardens on Sunday October 29, 2006 as a memoriam to the late Viola Burnham, one of the stalwarts of the women’s movement who died on October 10, 2003. The public is invited to this event at which a collection will be taken in aid of the work of Guyana Cancer Society.


People's National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana.
Thursday, 5 October, 2006