PRESS STATEMENT By People’s National Congress Reform Thursday 29 November 2007 Media Centre Congress Place, Sophia




SUMMARY:
• The crisis in the Judiciary is the consequence of President Jagdeo’s continued failure to respect the letter and spirit of the Constitution;
• The culture of cover up now threatens to engulf the entire Cabinet, as Ministers seek to outdo each other in embarrassing this PPP/C Government and, by extension, the people of Guyana;
• It is clear that the policy of the Administration is conveying the impression of cowardice which seems to be encouraging further acts of aggression and contempt by the Venezuelan authorities;
• The PNCR believes that any caring and responsive Administration would, by this time, have prepared a comprehensive plan to alleviate the evidently traumatic effects of the rapidly rising cost of living, particularly taking action on those elements, such as the 16% VAT and the Consumption Tax on petroleum fuel, over which they have some control;
• The Region # 4 Regional Conference of the People’s National Congress Reform was held last Sunday, 25 November 2007, at Congress Place, Sophia.

PRESIDENT BHARRAT JAGDEO DECEIVES THE NATION:

The People’s National Congress Reform, on several occasions, has referred to the deceitful nature of the PPP/C regime. The reliance on the use of deceit and petty trickery, by this Administration, is there for the entire nation to see. This unacceptable behaviour of the Administration has become more and more evident, since the 2006 Elections.

The crisis in the Judiciary is the consequence of President Jagdeo’s continued failure to respect the letter and spirit of the Constitution. The Government’s arbitrary actions and refusal to engage in meaningful consultation, on matters such as the appointment of the Integrity Commission and, now, its clear intention to exercise dominion over the Judiciary, all serve to undermine the rule of law, which is the cornerstone of any functioning democracy.

The Leader of the Opposition, in a letter to the Press, on 26th November 2007, explained that, though the responsibility for the lack of consultations was clearly that of the Jagdeo PPP/C Administration, he made himself available for meaningful consultations, in the interest of the smooth functioning of the Judiciary and the nation. But, even as he is preparing to engage in consultations, on the appointment of a Chancellor of the Judiciary and a Chief Justice, sections of the Media have reported that Justice Carl Singh would remain as Acting Chancellor while Justice Ian Chang would be appointed Chief Justice.

The question is: what is the Leader of the Opposition to consult Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo about now? For it appears that, while the Administration is making a song and dance about consultations, it has clearly made up its mind about the two appointments in question.

The PNCR believes that this is yet another example of the proclivity of the Jagdeo PPP/C Administration which continues to deliver poor governance for the nation, through actions which, among other effects, serve to seriously undermine the consultation process.

A GOVERNMENT OF COMPROMISED MINISTERS:

The time has come for President Jagdeo to take firm action to curb the excesses of his erring, some may say, degenerate Ministers.

The culture of cover up now threatens to engulf the entire Cabinet, as Ministers seek to outdo each other in embarrassing this PPP/C Government and, by extension, the people of Guyana.

Recently, the son of the Minister of Tourism was able to settle a fatal accident matter for a reported $1.5Mn.

Now, currently in the press, we have the unfolding saga of the trigger happy Minister. The question, however, is will he be charged with attempted murder?

After all, he used his vehicle and his gun to threaten the life of the citizen who caused him to be offended.

What price did he pay to settle this matter?

Will this Minister be called upon to resign, since he does not seem moved by any consideration of public decency and decorum to do so voluntarily?

How many more criminal acts will be covered up before the President is moved to stamp out this pervasive lawlessness?

Perhaps, Minister Manickchand will hold a consultation with her Cabinet colleagues who seem to provide her with living current examples of the behaviour she wants to stamp out!

THE JAGDEO ADMINISTRATION MUST DEFEND THE SOVEREIGNTY AND INTERESTS OF GUYANA:

More than two weeks have elapsed since the reported invasion of Guyanese territory by members of the Venezuelan military and the deliberate destruction of the equipment of Guyanese nationals, pursuing their livelihood in Guyanese territory. The Government of Guyana is, however, still to receive the promised report on the incident from the Government of Venezuela. Surprisingly, on a matter as grave as the preservation of our territorial integrity, the Jagdeo PPP/C Administration seems to have retreated into silence and/or a feeble response.

It seems that the approach to this incident is following the same pattern established after Guyanese national, Mr. Parasam Persaud, was killed at Eteringbang more than a year ago. Then, as now, an investigation and report had been promised by the Venezuelan authorities. Contemptuously, neither materialized!

It is incredible that, faced with what can only be described as naked aggression, by the Venezuelan military, the Guyanese people have been treated to the deafening silence of the Commander-in-Chief and the Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force.

What is the explanation for the excessive caution of the Jagdeo PPP/C Administration?

Is this the consequence of perceived mendicancy?

The PNCR, once more, warns the Jagdeo PPP/C Administration not to allow the benefits, from the concessionary supply of oil, under the Venezuelan Petrol Caribe Scheme, to undermine its efforts to robustly reject this latest of a continuing series of aggressive acts against Guyanese nationals in our national territory. The Administration must immediately and resolutely seek international support to deter any further attacks, on Guyana’s territory by Venezuelan forces.

To add insult to injury, the Venezuelan Embassy in Georgetown feels comfortable to issue a press statement directed to the people of Guyana detailing how they have come to the rescue of Guyana in its fuel crisis, while the Prime Minister has gone dumb. Why did the Government, or, more particularly, the Prime Minister, not inform the people of Guyana first about their mendicancy or later clarify this matter after the Venezuelan Embassy’s unacceptable statement.

Why were the PYO, WPO and GAWU not in the forefront mobilising support and demonstrating with pickets in front of the Venezuelan Embassy on an issue that would have certainly attracted national support from most stakeholders?

Guyana’s track record in mobilising national support is not unknown. The song, “Not a Blade of Grass” is testimony to the peoples’ resolve. The question of the incompetent handling or political misdirection by the Jagdeo Administration to the Foreign Affairs Ministry must, therefore, be a matter of national concern

Appeasing an aggressive power is a dangerous policy. The Government of Guyana must make it known to Caracas that, while it prefers harmonious and productive relations, it will embark on a course of robust diplomacy if aggression is committed against its territory and, in violation of the 1899 Arbitral Award which settled the boundaries between Guyana and Venezuela.

It is clear that the policy of the Administration is conveying the impression of cowardice, which seems to be encouraging further acts of aggression and contempt by the Venezuelan authorities. The PPP/C Administration and the Guyanese people would have noted that the Commonwealth, which has traditionally given strong support to Guyana on the border controversy, merely “noted” the invasion, by Venezuela, of Guyana’s territory, instead of declaring an outright condemnation. This is clearly a response to the message conveyed by the handling of this matter by the Government of Guyana.

In this regard, the PPP/C Administration is urged to take a leaf out of the PNC’s diplomatic book of the 1980’s when the nation’s diplomacy was carefully considered, crafted and competently implemented. This led to rich foreign policy rewards, by the winning of support for Guyana’s cause, in all of the international organisations in which Guyana was a member. In this connection all the people of Guyana were the winners.

THE COST OF LIVING:

The 16% Value Added Tax (VAT) continues to push up the cost of living to levels where the Guyanese people are finding it difficult to survive. Despite the concerns expressed, by all sections of the society, about this situation, the PPP/C Administration continues to refuse to act. Such inaction merely adds to the woes and difficulties of the Guyanese people.

The PNCR believes that any caring and responsive Administration would, by this time, have prepared a comprehensive plan to alleviate the evidently traumatic effects of the rapidly rising cost of living, particularly taking action on those elements, such as the 16% VAT and the Consumption Tax on petroleum fuel, over which they have some control. Unfortunately, the influences of incompetence and callousness have resulted in slothful inaction by the Jagdeo PPP/C Administration. The PNCR warns the Administration that it would be responsible for any public response by the people in defence of their survival and advises that the lessons of history be fully understood, i.e., that the might of no army has been able to withstand the rage of an angry people.

PNCR REGIONAL CONFERENCE, REGION # 4:

The Region # 4 Regional Conference of the People’s National Congress Reform was held last Sunday, 25 November 2007, at Congress Place, Sophia. The Conference was attended by more than 300 delegates and observers. The main address was delivered by Mr. Basil Williams, MP and Vice-Chairman of the Party who deputized for the Party Leader, Mr. Robert Corbin, MP who was out of the country at the time.

Mr. William’s address dwelt on the Theme for the 15th Biennial Congress (PNCR United, Rejuvenated & Re-positioned for the Next 50 Years) as well as the Conference Theme (Resolutely Forward Together – Rejuvenated and Ready for the Task Ahead.)

The welcome address was delivered by Ms. Volda Lawrence, MP, Vice-Chairperson of the Party and Director of the Party’s Human Services and Welfare Department. The Sessional Chairperson for the morning proceedings was Ms. Melanie Cornette, member of the Central Executive Committee (CEC). In the Regional Overview, Mr. Ernest Elliott, MP and member of the CEC, dealt with the activities of the region for the past three years.

Elections were conducted by Mr. Oscar Clarke, General Secretary of the Party, who was the Returning Officer. The persons elected were:

1) Mr. Ernest Elliott, Chairman
2) Mr. Earle Lambert, Vice-Chairman
3) Ms. Ann Greene, Secretary
4) Mr. Dave Danny, Treasurer
5) Mr. Llewelyn John, CEC Representative for the Region
6) Three Committee Members: Ms. Joan Haynes, Mr. Mark Rodrigues and Ms. Joan Baveghems.

The Conference concluded with the charge and installation which was done by Ms. Amna Ally, MP, member of the CEC and Director of the Party Organisation Department.

This Conference was the fourth to be held recently in the implementation of the 15th Biennial Congress decisions about party re-organisation. The previous Conferences were held in Regions 3, West Demerara/Essequibo Islands; Region 6, East Berbice; and Region 2, Essequibo Coast/Pomeroon. The next regional Conference is scheduled to be held next Sunday in Region 5, Mahaica/West Berbice.

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia
Georgetown, Guyana.
Thursday 29 November 2007