PRESS STATEMENT By Dr Faith Harding Member - Central Executive Committee of the People’s National Congress Reform Press Conference on June 20th, 2002 Hall of Heroes, Congress Place, Sophia.



COMMUNITY POLICING AND PPP/C POLITICAL THUGGERY: The PNC/R again condemns the brutal attack and beating of the Justice For All Party Leader and Journalist, Mr. C N Sharma, by PPP/C thugs posing as Community Police and wearing apparel belonging to the Guyana Police Force. This latest attack on Mr. Sharma is a dangerous development in an already volatile situation where insecurity is one of the chief afflictions facing the Guyanese people.

The PPP/C must take full responsibility for failing to reign in their operatives and encouraging them to violate the human rights of Guyanese who dare to speak out against this victimising, racist, corrupt and incompetent regime. This behaviour by the PPP/C is not new as over the years they have pursued a vicious policy of physical attacks, economic sabotage and ostracization of Indo-Guyanese, in particular who have dared to speak out against their policies, programmes and activities.

The attack on Mr. Sharma must not be taken lightly but must be viewed in the context of President Jagdeo’s plan for dealing with the crime situation, which includes the arming of citizens under the guise of Community Policing groups and giving them conditions and powers similar to Policemen. The PNC/R insists that there must be full transparency in any plan which involves the arming of civilians and calls upon all Guyanese to note this most dangerous development.

THE US CARROLL CASE PROVIDES EVIDENCE OF THE BLACK CLOTHES AS PAID ENFORCERS:

The saga of one of the largest US visa rackets involving former consular officer in Guyana, Thomas Carroll, appears to have come to an end in Chicago, USA. However, for Guyanese, this disgraceful episode has provided glaring evidence of corruption and criminality within the ranks of the infamous “black clothes” squad of the Guyana Police Force. What is most distressing and painful, for the vast majority of honest and professional policemen, is that many of those ranks who were named as major players in that sordid case are still active members of the GPF and seem to be enjoying protection from disciplinary action and/ or criminal prosecution.

The dispassionate manner in which the facts were presented by the US authorities, without claims of bias and opposition political involvement, have placed the conduct of the trial and the presentation of the very damning evidence above reproach. The next step is for the Guyanese authorities to take resolute action to purge the Guyana Police Force of those identified undesirable members.
The people of Guyana are being asked by the PPP/C regime to accept that wrongs committed in Guyana can be punished in the USA but are given absolution by the Minister of Home Affairs in Guyana. Is the Government really committed to respecting the laws of Guyana and upholding the rule of law?

The Minister of Home Affairs has acknowledged that he is aware of the alleged involvement of the members of the black clothes squad but claims that there is insufficient evidence of any “material particular” on which to prosecute. Who is he trying to fool?

His Excellency the President on the other hand has publicly denied any knowledge of what was happening here in Guyana, and what had been revealed and confirmed by the Chicago courts. This is preposterous! The implications of his denials are grave and indicate that we have a head of state who is prepared to indulge in untruths and feigned ignorance of facts which are universally known in Guyana

What is the reason for this strange behaviour?

Has the government got something to hide?

There continues to be persistent rumours and indications that senior members of the regime are involved in many unspeakable and unsavoury activities, apart from widespread corrupt practices. Are we seeing another brazen attempt to engage in a cover up?

In this regard, it is very likely that the threat by Mr Lambert Marks, the head of the Customs and Trade Administration (CTA), to “tell all” about the involvement of senior government functionaries in corruption, narco-trafficking, money laundering, the holding of illicit overseas bank accounts, and murder will read like a veritable “who is who” of the crime syndicates in Guyana.

The Customs scandal is just another example of the pervasive decay that has lead to the evident degeneration of the institutions of the state. Similar scandals in other ministries and departments confirm the spreading rot. The attitudes and activities of the Bandits indicate that they have lost respect for the rule of law and the capacity of the GPF to enforce and uphold the law and provide protection for all the people of Guyana.

The damaged and discredited reputation of the government has unfortunately made it impossible to restore the professional integrity and acceptable public image of the Guyana Police Force, and that of every other vital agency of the state, until the image of the regime, its ministers and heads of the various agencies is itself refurbished.

The appearance of blissful ignorance on the part of the President is a most shameful display of deception on his part and underscores his own and the Administration’s ineptitude and incompetence. The ambivalent behaviour of the President, and senior members of his administration, has only served to create greater tensions in an already stressed national crime and security environment.

The death of every policeman and member of the public, at the hands of bandits, pains the PNCR immensely. We grieve for them and their relatives and friends. We also grieve for our country. This is a sorry development that we condemn and will not condone. We are, however, conscious that our condemnation and abhorrence of the situation will not solve the problem. The solution will only begin to take root when all Guyanese are willing to honestly admit that our country is in deep trouble and be prepared to commit ourselves to exerting maximum and sustained pressure on the Freedom House regime to genuinely embrace the precepts of inclusive and good governance for all Guyanese.

We the people should not allow this our dear land of Guyana to disintegrate. We must make a concerted national effort to save it!

GOVERNMENT CASTIGATES GT&T BUT REMAIN SILENT IN FACE OF UNCONSCIONABLE RATE INCREASES BY GPL:

The President, since his return to Guyana, has castigated GT&T and accused them of bad faith and blackmailing tactics by their lobbying of the US government to deny the government access to an IDB funded Information Technology and Communications Project valued at US$18 million.

We hold no brief for GT&T but are conscious of the technical and other reservations previously expressed about this project which seem to be more geared towards satisfying the greed of PPP/C cronies than to conferring real and lasting benefits for its nominal beneficiaries.

In any case, we expected that the President, in describing the behaviour and attitudes of the GPL, would express similar or stronger sentiments and threats.

Instead, the government has maintained a deafening silence! They have created and imposed this monster on the hapless consumers of electricity in Guyana. They were warned that the GPL deal, which stinks of the oppressive smell of corruption, would result in yet further burdens on the people. How much more uncaring and insensitive can the PPP/C regime be?

The overwhelming majority of Guyanese will attest to the fact that, of the two utilities, the GPL is by far the most arrogant. Even though they have failed to supply the PUC with all of the supporting information requested to support and justify their claim for a rate increase, they have displayed utter contempt for the PUC and consumers in Guyana by, nevertheless, going ahead with their imposition of the excessively high electricity rates. Meanwhile, GPL has failed to meet the performance targets in their agreement with the government and have suffered no penalty.

When will the government take decisive action to protect the helpless consumers?

Has the regime abandoned us to the ravages of GPL?

We the consumers have to continue to suffer and endure paying higher rates for GPL’s unreliable and unstable service. This is yet another contribution to making life more intolerable for the average family in Guyana.




DISTORTION AND MISREPRESENTATION OF PNC/R’s POSITION ON GOVERNANCE ISSUES:

The PNC/R has viewed with interest the latest frantic efforts by the PPP/C to malign and sully the good name of the Party by the spreading of vicious lies through the medium of their propaganda TV programme, “Square Talk”. This latest attack is to be viewed with amusement, particularly in the context of their failed campaign to label the PNCR a terrorist organisation and their patent inability to produce one iota of evidence to support their vile propaganda to link the PNC/R with crime and criminals.

The PNC/R has noticed the deliberate misunderstanding and misinterpretation of its statements on the state of governance in Guyana. Some of this mischief has even emerged from the editorial opinion of what should normally be a thoughtful and responsible national newspaper. We refer to the allegation that our announced intention to work for the removal of Jagdeo’s corrupt and incompetent regime from office is seditious. What nonsense!

In the context of the ultimatum given by Dr Luncheon to Lambert Marks, we call upon the PPP/C, President Jadgeo and/or Kwame McKoy to produce their evidence that the PNC/R has deposited any large sums of money at any Bank after any criminal enterprise or at all over the last ten months. In the same manner, we will conclude that the failure to do so will confirm their own conspiracy.

The PPP/C cannot try, albeit unsuccessfully, to convince the nation that the PNC/R is linked to criminals and at the same time hope that PNC/R’s statements condemning crime will have a positive effect. The PPP/C must decide if it wishes to score political points or if it wishes to bring an end to the crime wave. It appears that the PPP/C is unconcerned about the fact that Guyanese are at the mercy of criminals, for them political points are more important.

It is even more disturbing to note, however, that the PPP/C propaganda about the PNCR being linked to criminals is now being supplemented by an upsurge in discrimination against supporters of the PNCR. This situation is rife in the building sector where a number of Guyanese are being sent home on the grounds that they support criminals. The PPP/C must explain if this increase in discrimination is an integral part of its vicious attacks against the PNC/R and its supporters.

It is now widely acknowledged that the government has long since lost its grip on the affairs of the nation. It is weak, indecisive, and dangerously discriminatory. It has ruined our economy, demoralised the police force, presided over a reign or criminal terror and, through its economic mismanagement, created an ever growing pool of impoverished Guyanese.

The only response in such a situation, for a morally responsible political opposition, is to present itself as an alternative government. In most other civilised countries, the head of a government with so little credibility would have resigned as an act of patriotism to save the country from further humiliation and destruction.

We have warned for years of the likely consequences of the non-existent economic policies and strategies. We have warned for years of the outrageous pillaging of public funds from capital projects by government ministers and PPP/C cronies. We have warned for years of the growth of the drugs trade and its corruption of government functionaries. We have warned for years of the pervasive money-laundering activities. We have warned for years of the activities and likely consequences of the untamed and criminal death squads. We have warned for years of the consequences of politically motivated demoralisation of the police and army. We have warned for years of the dangers of mindless discrimination and persecution of selected communities like Buxton. We have warned for years of the unfair and discriminatory distribution of land and house lots. We have warned for years of the neglect and deterioration of vital drainage and irrigation infrastructure. We have warned for years of the consequences of the evident undermining of the moral and spiritual fabric of the nation.

Despite all of our warnings and those from all other right thinking and concerned Guyanese, Freedom House and the regime it has spawned have refused to govern in the interest of all of the people! The trials and tribulations, which now beset Guyana, are all of the government’s own making. Now that the chickens have come home to roost, the regime will have to face the consequences of its imposition of bad governance on the people.

The PNCR wishes to make it pellucid to the Nation that PPP/C lies cannot detract us from the pursuit of our noble objectives. The issues of governance, incompetence, corruption, victimisation, discrimination cannot be swept away by propaganda.

The PNC/R will pursue these matters to the bitter end.


People’s National Congress/ Reform
Congress Place, Sophia.
June 20th, 2002