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




SUMMARY:
• The PNCR believes that Justice Ramlall’s decision can serve as the basis for ironing out many of the difficulties which have engulfed the Judiciary;
• Each passing day brings more irrefutable evidence of the mismanagement and corruption which the PPP/C regime has shamelessly inflicted on this country. This is particularly evident in the energy and water sectors;
• The institutional reality is that the PPP/C Government has been making land available to people, in many instances, not adequately developed and subject to discriminatory practices, while the PNC Government implemented the policy of giving people the keys to their own home;
• The PNCR wishes to urge the PPP/C Administration to go beyond the formal diplomatic practice of registering a complaint against the invasion of our national territory and pursue a more robust defence of the nation’s interest and internationalise this issue by invoking the relevant mechanisms of the various international organisations to which Guyana belongs;
• The PNCR held its Annual Delegates Conference in Dartmouth, Essequibo on Sunday, 18 November 2007.

PNCR COMMENDS JUSTICE RAMLALL:

The People’s National Congress Reform wishes to commend Justice William Ramlall for his bold and courageous decision to rule that it was unconstitutional for a single individual to hold the positions of Chancellor of the Judiciary and Chief Justice. In so doing, he has upheld the supreme law of the land.

The Party considers it appropriate to laud the course of action taken by the Citizens for the Defence of the Constitution, consisting of Messrs Rex Mc Kay, S.C., Miles Fitzpatrick, S.C., Keith Massiah, S.C., Nigel Hughes and Stephen Fraser, which led to this important decision.

The PNCR believes that Justice Ramlall’s decision can serve as the basis for ironing out many of the difficulties which have engulfed the Judiciary. The Party believes that once the constitutionally correct thing is done and the Offices of Chancellor and Chief Justice are separated, then urgent steps should be taken to fully constitute the Court of Appeal and the Judicial Service Commission.

There is the obvious need to inject a degree of rationality and elegance into this important arm of the State.

MISMANAGEMENT AND CORRUPTION:

Each passing day brings more irrefutable evidence of the mismanagement and corruption which the PPP/C regime has shamelessly inflicted on this country. This is particularly evident in the energy and water sectors.

It is now clear, to every Guyanese citizen, that the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) is a train wreck that has to be stopped. At several of our Press Conferences, the PNCR has referred to the mismanagement and corruption, in that organization, which recently manifested itself in the increased blackouts and the inability to access fuel in a timely manner.

Belatedly, President Bharrat Jagdeo took action by “parting company” with the Chairman of GPL and the Head of the Guyana Energy Authority (GEA). But, as far as the GPL is concerned, firing the Chairman will not restore that corporation to any kind of financial or managerial health. It must be thoroughly reorganised and rationalized with systems firmly in place to eradicate corruption and mismanagement. This can only be done by an independent inquiry into the operations of GPL. The PNCR calls immediately for such an inquiry.

In the judgement of this Party, the Guyana Water Inc. (GWI) is showing the same signs of stress and lack of direction which led to the fiasco at GPL. Increasingly, Guyanese are being provided with very little potable water, too many areas of the country are left without this necessary commodity and, certainly, there is no plan or programme, which has graced the public domain, as to how GWI will carry out its duty of ensuring that every Guyanese enjoys his/her human right to water.

In these circumstances, the PNCR urges the PPP/C Administration to take the required steps now, by launching a thorough investigation into the functions, management and operations of the GWI, before yet another disaster befalls the nation.

There are signs which every right thinking Guyanese, and especially the Government of the day, should pay close attention to: the discoloured water flowing through the taps; the large sums of money that the GWI is seeking to recover; reports of discrimination and harassment of employees; the sense that the organisation is being overwhelmed by the problems it is supposed to manage; and the distinct impression that the GWI has lost its managerial and social compass.

HOUSE LOTS:

In a multi-ethnic society like Guyana it is the responsibility of the state to ensure that the distribution of any public good is not marred by discrimination. The PPP/C Administration, as far as the issue of house lots is concerned, have been consistently violating this principle. The PNCR cannot help but notice that the approach by the Minister to this question is typically inconsistent, to say the least.

Minister Harinaraine Nawbatt is reported to have said to residents in Berbice recently that those who cannot afford to erect homes on lots allocated to them should consider returning them to the Government. This is in contra distinction to his declaration to the residents in Region # 4 that the Government would seize allocated lots which have not been utilized for building. The land question is too sensitive and important an issue to be treated like a political football.

The PNCR is minded to remind the Guyanese people that, in Government, its policy on the use of land for the building of homes for the people of Guyana had been markedly different from that of the PPP/C. The PNC provided affordable homes for the people.

Between its accession to Government, in 1964, and when it left office in 1992 the PNC built numerous housing schemes in such places as South Ruimveldt Park, Tucbur in Berbice and schemes on the West Coast and the West Bank of Demerara. The aim of the PNC was to remove the burden of building from the shoulders of the citizens and place them where they rightly belong on the state.

The institutional reality is that the PPP/C Government has been making land available to people, in many instances, not adequately developed and subject to discriminatory practices, while the PNC Government implemented the policy of giving people the keys to their own home.

VENEZUELA:

The PNCR unreservedly condemns the invasion of Guyana’s land and airspace by elements of the armed forces of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, on Thursday 15 November 2007, which resulted in the blowing up of two pontoons in the Cuyuni River belonging to nationals of this Republic. This aggressive act is contrary to international law and the concept of the peaceful resolution of differences between states, violating, as this act does, the relevant resolutions and decisions of the United Nations and the Organisation of American States.

The PNCR wishes to urge the PPP/C Administration to go beyond the formal diplomatic practice of registering a complaint against the invasion of our national territory and pursue a more robust defence of the nation’s interest and internationalise this issue by invoking the relevant mechanisms of the various international organisations to which Guyana belongs. The PPP/C Administration, for example, should ask the United Nations to dispatch a fact finding mission to the area in which the invasion occurred, since Venezuela is claiming that the incident took place on its territory.

The PNCR also wishes to remind the PPP/C Administration of the famous adage of General De Gaulle that beneath its formal, polite conventions, diplomacy recognises only reality. In other words, it is a dangerous practice, in international relations, to allow the blandishments, in whatever form it takes, of an aggressive state to obscure the need to defend and maintain the national interest and territory.

PNCR REGIONAL CONFERENCE, REGION # 2:

The PNCR held its Annual Delegates Conference in Dartmouth, Essequibo on Sunday, 18 November 2007. It was well attended and the main address was delivered by the Vice-Chairman of the Party, Mr. Basil Williams, standing in for the Leader of the PNCR, Mr. Robert Corbin, M.P. Also present at the Conference were Ms. Amna Ally, M.P., Mr. Dave Danny, M.P. and Mr. Keith Scott, Parliamentary Representative for Region # 2.

In his address, Mr. Williams outlined the plans and strategies which have been considered by the Party to ensure its rejuvenation. During the Conference itself Delegates raised a number of important issues, such as the bringing of workers into the Region by contractors and thus depriving the people in the Region of much needed jobs, discrimination, and the unresolved issue of the Anna Regina market.

Mr. Anthony Mipal was elected Chairman of the Region while Ms. Doreen Duncan and M. Pearson were returned as Secretary and Treasurer, respectively.

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia
Georgetown, Guyana.
Thursday 22 November 2007.