PRESS STATEMENT By People’s National Congress Reform Thursday 6 December 2007 Media Centre Congress Place, Sophia




SUMMARY:
• Unfortunately, this nation has now grown accustomed to the intellectual carelessness of PPP/C top officials, particularly, in the realm of foreign policy;
• It should be evident to all that Guyana’s landlord, Mr. Bharat Jagdeo, either does not understand the importance of institutions and conventions for the development of Guyana or he is a very petty person who is deliberately destroying certain institutions and conventions;
• It is evident, for all, except the PPP/C elite, to see that the continued spiralling of the cost of living is having devastating social and economic consequences for the daily existence of the working and non-working poor in Guyana;
• The People’s National Congress Reform is of the view that the time is nigh when the PPP/C regime should train and equip, inclusive of modern electronic communications equipment, a specialist marine squad, in the Guyana Police Force, that can protect our fishermen at sea;
• The PNCR urges the leadership and ranks of the security forces not only to desist from torture, as a matter of policy and, in strict adherence to the relevant agreements signed by the Government of Guyana, but also to take active measures to ensure that the nation does not slide into the pit of the barbarous behaviour associated with some of the most unsavoury regimes in this region and beyond;
• The PNCR wishes to vehemently condemn the brutal and senseless murder of Pastor Ian David and to extend our condolences to his family and friends.

PRESIDENT JAGDEO DOES NOT PASS THE TEST ON VENEZUELA:

It is a requirement of the Office that the Head of State should have an intimate acquaintance with the details of the nation’s foreign policy. In this regard, both Presidents Burnham and Hoyte were outstanding. Not so with President Jagdeo.

At his last Press Conference, President Jagdeo claimed that the Border Controversy between Venezuela and Guyana was first mentioned by the Commonwealth in its Communiqué issued at the end of the Heads of Government Conference (CHOGM) in 1999.

This statement betrays a lack of an understanding of the history of the support which Guyana won from this important international organisation and reflects the extent to which the President may be poorly briefed by his advisors. In fact, as early as 1981, and, in subsequent meetings of the Commonwealth, the Border Controversy was mentioned and Guyana continually received strong support.

Unfortunately, this nation has now grown accustomed to the intellectual carelessness of PPP/C top officials, particularly, in the realm of foreign policy. Glaring examples include the unedifying spectacle of Mr. Clement Rohee, when he was Foreign Minister, unable, on national television, to give the correct information in respect of the area of Guyana in square kilometres and Mrs. Janet Jagan, as President, blissfully unaware that Venezuela had illegally seized Guyana’s half of Ankoko Island in 1966.

THE GAUCHE JAGDEO IS DESTROYING GUYANA’S INSTITUTIONS:

It should be evident to all that Guyana’s landlord, Mr. Bharat Jagdeo, either does not understand the importance of institutions and conventions for the development of Guyana or he is a very petty person who is deliberately destroying certain institutions and conventions.

The fact that the Jagdeo regime could descend to the level of depriving a previous Head of the Guyana Defense Force access to Camp Ayangana, access which convention has long established, is a clear indication that the Jagdeo Presidency is at its nadir.

The PNCR believes that the action of the Jagdeo regime against Brigadier General (retired) Edward Collins is an act that is void of civility and contributes to the continuing degeneration of the moral fabric of Guyanese society.

Equally disturbing is the attempts by Mr. Jagdeo to destroy the institution of the First Lady. The institution – the First Lady - is protected by conventions and agreements which should be treated as such and should never be reduced to the whims, fancies and idiosyncrasies of the Executive.

The PNCR is of the view that, after she has served honourably in such a position, and continues to be a law abiding citizen after such service, then our First Ladies should enjoy the privileges and entitlements afforded their status.

As a nation, we should be demonstrating our maturity by strengthening such institutions, rather than seeking to destroy or denigrate them.

THE COST OF LIVING:

The single most important issue, for the average Guyanese, is the rising cost of living. The Guyanese people are experiencing rising prices in almost every area, such as rice, sugar and flour. To add to these burdens, it is increasingly being bruited about that Guyana Power and Light (GPL) is going to increase tariffs for electricity.

It is evident, for all, except the PPP/C elite, to see that the continued spiralling of the cost of living is having devastating social and economic consequences for the daily existence of the working and non-working poor in Guyana.

As we have all now come to expect, President Jagdeo, and his well oiled .propaganda machine, have swung into top gear, callously and insensitively seeking to deny the reality that their uncaring policies, and incompetent management of the nation’s affairs, are crucifying the average wage and salary earner in Guyana.

In the meantime, our water woes continue. Despite the blatant untruths being peddled by the management of Guyana Water Inc. (GWI) and the responsible Minister, every Guyanese school child knows that the water situation is getting worse with every passing day. Unfortunately, the severe problems affecting the GWI are not confined to its inability to deliver an adequate and potable water supply; the spreading cancer is now threatening to consume its management.

At a previous Press Conference, we had pointed out that, during Mr. Karran Singh’s previous tenure, there had been an unrelenting assault on the management structure resulting in the virtual collapse of the Guyana Water Authority (GUYWA). Now, we have a similar scenario being played out once again, under the stewardship of the same recycled Mr. Karran Singh. GWI has dismissed two of its most competent, experienced and qualified managers, Mr. Lance Mc Caskey and Mr. David Dewar

We will continue to carefully monitor developments at GWI, since it does appear that the Jagdeo PPP/C Administration is not uncomfortable with Mr. Singh’s selective purging of the already depleted management of GWI. Once again, Karran Singh is confirming that he is a specialist at engineering the collapse of the water utility.

GOVERNMENT’S FLAWED STRATEGY TO DEAL WITH PIRACY IN BERBICE:

The Jagdeo regime is again manifesting its incompetence. On this occasion, it is manifest in the regime’s failed attempts to deal with piracy. While the fishermen in Berbice are losing their lives and property at the hands of pirates, the PPP/C regime seems unable to understand the nature of the problem, much less find solutions.

The regime’s decision to establish a fund to help fishermen is useful to recover loss property. Unfortunately, it is not a solution to the ever increasing piracy and, in some regard; it could be interpreted as an acknowledgement that the government is losing the battle to deal with this increase in crime at sea.

The People’s National Congress Reform is of the view that the time is nigh when the PPP/C regime should train and equip, inclusive of modern electronic communications equipment, a specialist marine squad, in the Guyana Police Force, that can protect our fishermen at sea.

There is also need to invest in an intelligence network that will enable the Guyana Police Force to get to the masterminds and to dismantle the piracy network that is clearly in control and wreaking havoc in the Berbice fishing communities.

This must be complemented with a plan and strategy to remove illegal weapons from our streets and to improve the protection of our porous borders which are clearly a key source of illegal weapons.

TORTURE UPDATE:

The allegations, by Patrick Sumner and Victor Jones, against the security forces have put the question of this heinous crime squarely in the public domain. As a public issue, it has attracted the attention of political parties and important stakeholders in the society. That attention has been characterized by vocal condemnation.

The security forces have been called upon to answer whether these two individuals were, in fact, tortured. The answers have been bewildering and troubling. Let us look at the response of the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Henry Greene at a Press Conference he held, as reported in the Stabroek News of 9th November 2007:

“It was the first time that Greene had spoken publicly on the torture accusations… Stabroek News was told that the police had nothing to do with the beating of Patrick Sumner and Victor Jones and that it was members of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) who had tortured the men.”

This answer, regrettably, does not reflect well on the security forces whose responsibility is to serve the nation and to protect the Guyanese people.

David Zammett was so badly tortured - he could hardly make an entry into the court where he had been summoned to answer charges - that the Judge had to order that he be medically examined. Typically, the medical report, on Zammett’s condition, has not seen the light of day.

The PNCR calls on the responsible authorities to publish that report so that it can be settled, beyond peradventure, whether Zammett was tortured or not.

The PNCR urges the leadership and ranks of the security forces not only to desist from torture, as a matter of policy and, in strict adherence to the relevant agreements signed by the Government of Guyana, but also to take active measures to ensure that the nation does not slide into the pit of the barbarous behaviour associated with some of the most unsavoury regimes in this region and beyond. The implications and consequences can be grave. Those who torture can be tried in any jurisdiction as the case of General Pinochet demonstrated. The security forces must, therefore, understand that even if they can get away with the torture of Guyanese, in Guyana, it does not mean that they cannot be charged and tried in other jurisdictions.

ANOTHER SENSELESS MURDER:

The PNCR wishes to vehemently condemn the brutal and senseless murder of Pastor Ian David and to extend our condolences to his family and friends.

The PNCR is shocked and finds it appalling that there are those among us who will commit murder in a place of worship. As a Party, we are convinced that this particular crime is a clear indication that our society has descended to its lowest moral level ever.

It is also evident that there is no longer the restraint of, and respect for, religion and fear for God that served as a deterrent.

PNCR REGIONAL CONFERENCE, REGION # 5:

The PNCR held a Regional Conference in Region # 5, Mahaica/Berbice on the 2nd December. It was a well attended Conference at which the feature address was delivered by the Leader of the PNCR, Mr. Robert Corbin, MP, the welcome address by Ms. Jennifer Wade, MP, Regional Representative on the Party’s Central Executive Committee and the Regional Report by Ms. Carol Joseph. The Leader of the PNCR was greeted with drumming and dancing and was generally given a rousing reception.

In his feature address, Mr. Corbin referred to the development of the Party over the period of 50 years and highlighted the philosophy and policies which ensured its cohesion and effectiveness. He also dealt with the theme of Re-positioning and Rejuvenating the Party to enable it to carry out its mandate in the future.

The Officers elected at the Conference were:

1. Mr. Cecil Wolfe, Chairman
2. Mr. Prince Pompey, Vice-Chairman
3. Ms. Carol Joseph, Secretary
4. Ms. Shirley Lewis, Treasurer
5. Ms. Jennifer Wade, MP, CEC Representative.
6. Committee members are: Ms. Shondel Benjamin
Ms. Shivone Benjamin
Ms. Jacklyn Alleyne


People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia
Georgetown, Guyana.
Thursday 6 December 2007