PRESS STATEMENT By People’s National Congress Reform Thursday, November 2, 2006 Media Centre Congress Place, Sophia




SUMMARY:
• The results of the Regional Elections provided an opportunity for the commencement of meaningful discussions and the persons identified to initiate those discussions outlined the views of the PNCR to the Parties concerned;
• While the Parliament purports to function under the umbrella of a Court imposed legality, the PNCR will not fail to represent the 114,608 persons who placed confidence in the Party to represent their interests when they voted in the last elections. The only reasonable way forward is for there to be a political solution to the present dilemma which the Parliament now faces.
• Guyanese can have no faith 9in the grandiose pronouncements in the President’s speech unless and until they see evidence of his seriousness in implementing matters agreed upon several years ago;
• The People’s National Congress Reform – One Guyana wishes to offer heartfelt condolences to the wife, Lurlene, son, Leonard and all other relatives and friends on the passing of Dr. Festus Brotherson, Jnr.


THE PNCR REMAINS WILLING TO WORK WITH ALL PARTIES TO ACHIEVE SHARED GOVERNANCE OR A GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL UNITY

The final process of the 2006 National and Regional Elections concluded yesterday with the oath of Office being taken by the newly elected Councilors of the ten Regional Democratic Councils and the holding of Elections for the Chairmen and Vice-Chairpersons for those Councils. In those Elections, PNCR councilors obtained the posts of Chairman for Regions Four, Seven and Ten and Vice Chairman for Regions Eight and Ten. The PNCR-1G had submitted the names of the candidates that it had extracted from the Lists to the Chief Elections Officer on September 21, 2006 and the names have since been published in the Official Gazette. The names of those extracted and who were sworn in as Councilors yesterday are attached for public information.

The PNCR-1G campaigned on a platform which promised that a PNCR-1G government would have involved all political parties in the governing of Guyana. In this context therefore the PNCR1G decided that it will be guided in the post election period by the principles of inclusive and shared governance. Consequently the Party initiated a process of consulting with all political parties, except the TUF following the declaration of results of the Elections. It was evident that the results of the Regional Elections provided an opportunity for the commencement of meaningful discussions and the persons identified to initiate those discussions outlined the views of the PNCR to the Parties concerned. Based on the results of those initial consultations the PNCR and the PPP continued discussions on issues related to the promotion of Local democracy particularly as it related to the functioning of the Regional Democratic Councils. Basic understandings with respect to the Councils were arrived at and the parties agreed to continue work towards agreement on several related issues.

Among the matters being discussed are, the Uniform Treatment of All Regions; allocation of resources for projects identified by the Regional Democratic Councils; Land Distribution issues in the Regions; Selection and reporting relationships of Regional Executive Officers and the RDC’s; implementation of D&I projects in the Regions; Remuneration for Regional Councilors; Facilities for Chairmen, Vice-Chairmen and Councilors of RDC’s to carry out their responsibilities; specific budgetary allocation for Agriculture to each Region and managed by the RDC; Regional budgetary allocation for Youth Sports and Culture to be managed by the RDC; and Outstanding Local Government Reform Issues, including, Model for Local Government Electoral system; Formula for Fiscal Transfers; Creation of the Local Government Commission; and The treatment of Regional Development Plans.

Because of the progress of these discussions the Parties considered it useful to commence the process with collaboration at the level of the Regional Democratic Councils. The discussions are continuing in the National interest and in pursuit of concerns of the PNCR members. More details will be made available when an agreement is concluded on these matters.

PNCR COMMENCED ITS PARTICIPATION IN THE NINTH PARLIAMENT WITHOUT PREJUDICE TO ITS CHALLENGE TO THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE PROCLAMATION OF PRESIDENT JAGDEO AND THE APPOINTMENT OF MINISTERS BEFORE THE EXTRACTION OF THEIR NAMES FROM THE LIST

The PNCR-1G entered the National Assembly of the Parliament on Monday, October 30, 2006 to participate in the first Debate at that forum on the President’s Address to that body on September 27th last. Opening the debate for the Opposition Leader of the PNCR, Mr. Robert Corbin, prefaced his presentation by outlining the rationale for the PNCR-1G participation in the business of the National Assembly. Mr. Corbin outlined the position of the PNCR as stated in its Press Statement of September 28, 2006 and reiterated that the position of the PNCR, had not changed.

In that Statement, the PNCR had stated that the effect of the Court judgment could prove disastrous not only to the functioning of the Ninth Parliament but also for the future conduct and behavior of the President and the Executive. It was obvious that the decision has serious implications for the rule of law in Guyana, where the role of the judiciary is expected to be one of arbiter of the law which regulates, among other things, the functioning of the other agencies of the State and arms of Government. Consequently, the PNCR filed its own action challenging the constitutionality of the Proclamation issued by President Jagdeo, convening Parliament on the 28 September 2006 and the appointment of Ministers before their names were extracted from the PPP/C Lists and presented to the Guyana Elections Commission. This action is not prejudiced by the decision of the Court and the PNCR lawyers were instructed to pursue this action with vigor and with urgency

Mr. Corbin pointed out to the Assembly that the PNCR is nevertheless conscious that the effect of the present judgment is to give validity to any act done by the Ninth Parliament unless and until the judgment is struck down by a higher Court. In those circumstances, the PNCR has a responsibility to the 114,608 persons who placed confidence in the Party to represent their interests when they voted in the last elections. The PNCR will not fail to represent them while the Parliament purports to function under the umbrella of a Court imposed legality. He maintained that the only reasonable way forward is for there to be a political solution to the present dilemma which the Parliament now faces.

UNLESS THERE IS EFFECTIVE IMPLEMENTATION OF POLICIES JAGDEO PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH TO THE PARLIAMENT MAY BE NOTHING MORE THAN SOUNDING BRASS AND TINGLING SYMBOLS

In the debate on the President’s speech to the Parliament, PNCR and Opposition Leader, Robert Corbin emphasized that unless there is effective implementation of the policies outlined in President Jagdeo’s speech to the Parliament, it may be nothing more than sounding brass and tinkling cymbals.

In his one hour address to the Assembly Mr. Corbin stated that the Government parliamentarians needed to answer several questions if there was any significance to be given to the President’s Speech.

On the questions of protection of political, civil and human rights, accountability and transparency Government speakers in the debate needed to advise the Assembly on

• how soon the President proposes to correct his breach of the Constitution by the unilateral appointment of the Integrity Commission? When will the constitutional motion filed in this matter be heard by the Court?

• when would the President heed the direction of the Auditor General to pay into the Consolidated Fund the money transferred 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 the President observe the constitutional requirements for the appointment of a Chancellor of the Judiciary and retreat from his machinations to control the Judiciary?

• when would the Government monopoly of state radio be removed and licenses for the establishment of private radio stations be issued?

• when would equitable access to the state controlled media (print and electronic) become a reality?

• when would the persecution of political prisoner Mark Benschop end? Has the PPP Government forgotten its lofty principles adumbrated in 1992 when immediately on it accession to office pardoned several treason convicted and accused persons? Do they remember Arnold Rampersaud, Chicken George, Lt. Rajkumar, and, the now senior Superintendent, Balram Persaud who were released from prison and promoted by them?

• will the Government finally take seriously the representations made by the Leader of the Opposition since 2005 on the question of remuneration for the Chairman of the Human Rights Commission?

• on the question of accountability will the Government undertake to pass the Freedom of information Act before Republic Celebrations next year?

• will the people of Guyana finally have an accurate account of the flood relied operations and how the money and other resources donated were allocated?

AND
• will we be able to have an account of how much state resources were spent on the so-called Cabinet outreaches in July this year just prior to the last General and Regional Elections?

Many of these matters, Mr. Corbin noted, did not have to await any deliberation in the National Assembly for their resolution and implementation since they fall within the direct responsibility of the Executive. Guyanese can have no faith, therefore, in the grandiose pronouncements in the President’s speech unless and until they see evidence of his seriousness in implementing matters agreed upon several years ago.

Other PNCR speakers in the debate included, Ms. Deborah Backer, Ms. Volda Lawrence and Ms. Africo Selman. Excerpts of these speeches will be aired on Channel Nine (9) Television in future Nation Watch programmes.

THE PEOPLE’S NATIONAL CONGRESS REFORM – ONE GUYANA EXPRESSES SYMPATHY ON THE DEATH OF DR. FESTUS BROTHERSON, JNR.

News of the death of Dr. Festus Brotherson, Jnr. from a catastrophic Stroke on October 24, 2006, was received with shock and sadness by the Leadership of the PNCR – 1G.

Dr. Brotherson who, at the time of his death, was a Professor of Political Science and Senior Research Associate at the University of Miami, Florida, as well as a tenured Professor at Baldwin – Wallace College in Ohio, was a product of Tutorial High School, one of the oldest Private Secondary Schools in Guyana with a proud record of achievement.

Before migrating to the United States of America Dr. Botherson served the People’s National Congress and the Government of LFS Burnham in several capacities, including broadcasting on state radio where he served as Moderator of the popular call in programmes Action Line and Night Ride.

He also served as editor of the Party’s New Nation Newspaper which position enabled him to serve in the Party’s Central Executive Committee.

He would be remembered for his academic prowess, his sincerity and his love for his country.

His demise has indeed robbed Guyana of one of its brightest sons.

The People’s National Congress Reform – One Guyana wishes to offer his wife Lurlene, his son Leonard and all other relatives and friends heartfelt condolences on his passing.


People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia
Georgetown, Guyana
Thursday, November 2, 2006