PRESS STATEMENT By People’s National Congress Reform Thursday 6 March, 2008 Media Centre, Congress Place, Sophia




SUMMARY:
• The propaganda of the PPP/C Administration and the activities of the security forces cannot conceal the terrible conditions to which the community of Buxton has been reduced;
• The Party is, therefore, deeply disappointed that, at the Babu John ceremony at Port Mourant, held to pay tribute to the memory of the late Dr. Cheddi Jagan, President Jagdeo took aim at the Opposition and virtually accused its members of being associated with criminals;
• The PNCR wishes to continue to express its alarm at the determination of the Jagdeo Administration to destroy the Critchlow Labour College;
• The greater tragedy is that the PPP/C Administration while belatedly recognizing the social crisis in Guyana has no plan or programme for its solution;
• The Jagdeo Administration’s poor record, on the fight against drugs, has also come to the attention of the Freedom House Organization.

THE SITUATION IN BUXTON:

The propaganda of the PPP/C Administration and the activities of the security forces cannot conceal the terrible conditions to which the community of Buxton has been reduced. It is now clear that the Buxton community, as a result of the policies and activities of the PPP/C Administration is slowly being brought to its knees.

Firstly, scores of children have been traumatized and have not been treated for this condition. This is bound to have negative consequences for their long-term mental and physical development. Secondly, the economic base of the community has virtually been destroyed. Farming, which had contributed significantly to the economic well being of the Buxton community, is now at a standstill. Thirdly, a worrisome number of children are not attending school, out of fear.

Because the PPP/C Administration is directly responsible for this situation, the PNCR demands that a policy-driven exercise be put in place, immediately, to determine the short-term and long-term needs of the community. In the short-term, the PPP/C Administration would do well to ensure that basic and essential medication is delivered to the community; a trauma unit is established, without any further delay; measures taken to ensure the proper delivery of such items as food at reduced prices; and adequate supplies of potable water.

On a long-term basis, the PPP/C Administration must involve the relevant department, of the University of Guyana, which can appoint a team of experts to go to Buxton, as soon as it is convenient and possible to investigate what are the requirements of the community, for its long-term development and survival. The report coming out of such a study could be backed and funded by the relevant international agency.

PRESIDENT JAGDEO DESTROYING CLIMATE OF TRUST:

At the end of the second meeting, between the Government and the National Stakeholders, at the Office of the President, on 25th February last, President Jagdeo was widely quoted, in the electronic media that he had detected, during that meeting, a spirit of co-operation among the various representatives. The PNCR has always believed that the security crisis, facing the nation, can only be adequately discussed and ventilated, in circumstances where all of the stakeholders believe that a climate of trust and reconciliation exists.

The Party is, therefore, deeply disappointed that, at the Babu John ceremony at Port Mourant, held to pay tribute to the memory of the late Dr. Cheddi Jagan, President Jagdeo took aim at the Opposition and virtually accused its members of being associated with criminals.

Such irresponsible statements are hardly likely to promote the co-operation and trust necessary for addressing the serious and precarious security concerns in Guyana. As a matter of interest, the PNCR calls on the President to state quite clearly and unambiguously who are those persons calling for power sharing and who have stated that they can control those “killings if they are part of the Government.” The President owes the nation an explanation. As a general observation, the PNCR has noted that this is not the first -occasion that President Jagdeo has taken the opportunity to castigate the Opposition to send subliminal messages to his own constituency. Just before the 2006 Elections, President Jagdeo said that, if certain elements of the Opposition got into Government they would give AK-47’s freely to the bandits. Every Guyanese schoolchild knew exactly what he was saying. Jagdeo is playing a dangerous racial game!

WITHOLDING OF FUNDS FROM CRITCHLOW LABOUR COLLEGE:

The PNCR wishes to continue to express its alarm at the determination of the Jagdeo Administration to destroy the Critchlow Labour College. As is well known, the Administration has withheld its subvention, voted by the National Assembly, from the college for some time now. The consequence has been that, the activities of the college have been reduced and students and teachers alike have suffered.

There is no provision for a subvention to the college in the 2008 Budget. Despite the warnings from several quarters, and those who are interested in the education of young people, the PPP/C Administration seems hell bent on either controlling the CLC or destroying it. The PNCR can only conclude that the PPP/C will continue to push its agenda, of not releasing the subvention of G$32M until there is unity in the trade union movement. In the meantime, the workers education will suffer and, those for whom the CLC was an education lifeboat will see their chances of a better future considerably diminished.

JAGDEO ADMITS GOVERNMENT HAS FAILED THE SOCIETY:

These revealing words were uttered by President Jagdeo when he spoke at Babu John, Port Mourant, on the occasion of the tribute to the memory of the late Dr, Cheddi Jagan:

“I see people, young people waiting for the next hundred dollars coming from the States, not wanting to work. The work ethic is gone, drinking every single day, domestic violence, beating up their women in the family and then we say we are ready for this struggle? How can we say that we will respect others, if we can't respect ourselves?”

This is apt description of the situation in contemporary Guyana. It is a pity that Jagdeo cannot see or realize that the policies of his Government are directly responsible for this tragedy. The greater tragedy is that his Administration while belatedly recognizing the social crisis in Guyana has no plan or programme for its solution.

DRUG CULTURE CONTINUES TO HOLD SWAY IN GUYANA:

The most recent International Narcotics Control Strategy Report 2008, published by the United States Government, among other things, has made it clear that the drug culture is deeply entrenched in Guyana. That culture, the report specifies, is responsible for murder, kidnappings and other violent crimes. Yet, the Jagdeo Administration is not moved to tackle this scourge with any will or purpose.

The INCSR report recognises the slothful attitude of the Administration. It has been derelict in its duty to implement its National Drug Strategy Master Plan. This is the verdict of the report: “Government counter-narcotics efforts are undermined by inadequate resources for law enforcement, poor coordination among law enforcement agencies, an inefficient judiciary, and a colonial-era legal system badly in need of modernization.”

The Jagdeo Administration’s poor record, on the fight against drugs, has also come to the attention of the Freedom House Organization. That organization, in its 2006 Report, has reduced Guyana’s political rights and civil liberties, ratings from 2 to 3, and its status from free to partly free “due to the Government’s failure to fully investigate the emergence of anti-crime death squads and the growing influence of the illegal narcotics trade on the country’s political system.”

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia
Georgetown, Guyana.
Thursday 6 March 2008