PRESS STATEMENT By People’s National Congress Reform Thursday, March 22, 2007 Media Centre Congress Place, Sophia




SUMMARY:
• The People’s National Congress Reform-One Guyana joins with the African-Guyanese community in commemorating the 200th anniversary of the enactment of the Slave Trade Act;
• The PNCR has written Prime Minister Samuel Hinds in his capacity as Minister of Public Works and Communication recommending that adequate ferry service be put in place on Match Days;
• The PNCR notes the continued deterioration of the President’s public conduct, erratic behaviour and arbitrary management style and its ill effects on the progress of our country;
• The People’s National Congress Reform held a fan out exercise in Linden on Saturday, March 17, 2007, in which PNCR Members of Parliament and Members of the Regional Democratic Council met with the local community to discuss the situation in the town.
THE ABOLITION OF THE ATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE
The vast majority of African-Guyanese today are descendants of the victims of the greatest forced migration in human history — the Atlantic slave trade. As many as 50 million Africans may have been uprooted from their native lands and killed or transported and enslaved in the Americas, the Guianas and the Caribbean.

This year, 2007, the People’s National Congress Reform-One Guyana joins with the African-Guyanese community to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the enactment of the Slave Trade Act, also known by its long title: An Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade.

This Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which was passed on 25 March 1807, however, only abolished the trade in enslaved Africans in this hemisphere. Two other legislative measures were eventually enacted by the British Government — ‘Amelioration’ of the conditions of enslavement, in 1823 and the complete ‘Emancipation’ of the enslaved Africans, in 1838.

On this occasion, we recall the heroic struggles of the ancestors of the African-Guyanese people whose resistance to enslavement, especially in the celebrated Berbice Revolt of 1763, the Demerara Revolt of 1823, and the Essequibo Revolt of 1834, helped to destroy the system in Guyana forever and lay the foundations of a free nation.

We call upon the Government of the United Kingdom to acknowledge its role in, and accept its historic responsibility for, the enslavement of Africans. This system, which lasted four centuries, has been correctly called ‘the greatest crime against humanity.’

On this bicentenary, also, mindful of the enduring consequences of enslavement — especially in terms of its human cost and social and economic disruption in its former colonies in the Caribbean and Guyana — we call again on the British Government to enact measures to effect reparation to the descendants of the victims of the Atlantic Slave Trade.

WORLD CUP CRICKET

On Wednesday, March 28, 2007 the ICC Cricket World Cup Super Eight Matches will commence in Guyana at the spanking new stadium at Providence. It has been announced by the Local Organising Committee that there will be a number of parking and traffic restrictions on match days to cater for the anticipated large increase in traffic in the vicinity of the stadium.

On February 16, 2007 the LOC organized a special simulation 20/20 match to test the stadium. During this match there was major gridlock in the flow of traffic whereby ere it took over two hours to travel from Georgetown to the stadium. Traffic flow across the Demerara Harbour Bridge was also seriously affected despite the fact that the bridge itself was functioning properly.

The PNCR wishes to express concern about the hardships commuters are likely to experience on Match Days during the ICC/CWC Super Eight Matches. This situation can be compounded if the bridge for any reason malfunctions as it did on Friday, March 17, 2007 causing commuters to be stuck in traffic for hours. The situation was exacerbated by the fact that there was no ferry service between Stabroek and Vreed en Hoop stellings.

Our Party believes that the organisers should ensure that there is an adequate ferry service between Stabroek and Vreed en Hoop on Match Days. This will provided an option for West Demerara residents and at the same time reduce the volume of West Demerara bound traffic on the East Bank Road on Match Days. Towards this end the PNCR has written Prime Minister Samuel Hinds in his capacity as Minister of Public Works and Communication recommending that adequate ferry service be put in place on Match Days.

PRESIDENT JAGDEO IS FAST BECOMNG GUYANA’S PETTY DICTATOR

The PNCR wishes to draw attention to the increasingly erratic, undiplomatic and unstatesman like behaviour of the Head of State. Over a period of a few days:

 he ranted and raved against media practitioners in general,
 he attacked the Stabroek News in particular,
 he attacked the American government and its leadership
 he intemperately attacked our so-called “fossilized” private sector.

His micro-management of the preparations for the Rio Summit and CWC was not only bad administrative practice but also indicates an ill concealed contempt for his cabinet colleagues.

Again recently, the President:

 verbally abused the Le Meridian Pegasus for meeting their corporate obligation to contribute to the group’s profit stream;
 threatened GDF officers for not finding all the stolen AK 47’s; and
 even lashed out at his octogenarian patron and protector

Such ingratitude is unusual and says a lot about the President’s character.

Precisely what goes on in Mr. Jagdeo’s brain is uncertain. However, the off-hand spontaneity of his pronouncements and actions should be a matter of concern for all Guyana as it is for the PNCR. The implications for the smooth-running of the nation’s business and its image as a sane, well-ordered Republic are under assault by an increasingly impatient and autocratic President.

Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Resident Representatives senior government officials, our pilloried private sector, anti-casino religious leaders, the Guyana Police Force personnel must all be wondering who will be next for a Presidential ‘buse out’. It is alleged that some Government Ministers now shun the President scurrying for cover whenever he approaches.

The PNCR absolutely repudiates the President’s brand of rugged individualism and its associated political philosophy. Above all, we believe it is a gross misunderstanding of what really drives a modern economy and country. It is true that follow-up and critical interventions are sometimes required to produce the quality and timeliness of outcomes. But micro-management, though sometimes able to produce a short-term boost, weakens the system by rendering redundant Ministers and key professionals and executives. Lassitude and inertia have set in and become institutional. Very often micro-management is being done in the name of economic or administrative efficiency with guaranteed results, but the diminution of commitment, trust, motivation, co-operation and energy will cost the nation dearly. The notions of shared responsibility, executive accountability, and good governance in general are being undermined and eroded by a President out of control

PNCR MPS AND RDC COUNCILLORS MEET THE PEOPLE - VISIT AT LINDEN

The People’s National Congress Reform held a fan out exercise in Linden on Saturday, March 17, 2007, in which PNCR Members of Parliament and Members of the Regional Democratic Council met with the people of Linden to discuss the situation in the town.

The major concern of the people of Linden is the effect of the destruction of the bauxite industry by the PPP government and the high unemployment which has resulted in the community. It was pointed out as well that the Government is doing nothing to address this terrible situation. This high unemployment is seen as the source of the many social and other problems in Linden.

Lindeners stated that the cost of living has increased considerably in the last three months. The market vendors for instance complained that there has been a marked decrease in the purchasing power of the people and as a consequence people are buying less and business is very slow. This together with the high unemployment is taking its toll on the Linden Community.

Many Lindeners are of the view that the PPP/C administration is seeking to marginalize the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) and sometimes usurp their functions. It was pointed out that since the people of Linden elected their own representatives then the Government should recognize the will of the people and allow them to govern the community. They called for the Regional Democratic Council to be given the required resources to develop the community.

The PPP/C’s high-handedness in dealing with the RDC has created a situation in which there is inadequate supervision of infrastructure and other work in the Region. The consequence of this is that there is poor infrastructure work, inadequate and poor quality water, deteriorating health services and indiscipline in the educational system. The PNCR therefore calls on the Government to desist from its negative practices and allow the Regional Democratic Council to carry out its mandate. The PNCR also dealt with the concerns of vendors operating on Co-op Crescent and raised these matters with the IMC of the town. The citizens also raised the question of Police brutality by a few rogue cops in the community. This issue was raised with the Police leadership in Linden who responded positively and investigated and took action on the cases referred to them. The PNCR made it clear that it is in support of the Police maintaining law and order in Linden but will do everything to end the abuse of power by the few rogue cops who are seeking to become laws onto to themselves. The PNCR wishes to place on record its admiration for the professional way in which the senior officers in Linden dealt with the concerns raised by the people of Linden.

Lindeners are of the view that the Government needs to return the Linden Television Station to the people of Linden, since it was a gift to them. They have expressed the view that at present the television station churns out PPP/C propaganda and fails to give balanced coverage to the news in Guyana. The people of Linden pledged to struggle for the return of the television station to the people of Linden – the real owners of the station


People's National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana.
Thursday, March 22, 2007