PRESS STATEMENT By People’s National Congress Reform Wednesday 19 March 2008




SUMMARY:
• The PNCR wishes to suggest to the nation that as we reflect on the significance of the birth of the Holy Prophet we take to heart the message and lessons of the doctrines of this great religion and use them as important instruments for improving our society in such a way that we can begin to see the end of the vicious cycle of violence and witness the creations of conditions for racial harmony, peace and the real development in Guyana;
• The PNCR urges all Guyanese to join in the colourful and joyous celebration that the spring festival of Phagwah represents in its secular context;
• The festival of Easter commemorates the death of Jesus Christ and the celebration of His Resurrection. This festival in its symbolic significance and secular relevance contains an important and powerful message;
• The PNCR has already drawn the public attention to the fact that representatives of the PPP and the PPP/C Administration continue to make irresponsible and inflammatory statements which have undermined the climate of trust and understanding necessary for the resolution of the current security crisis and the other critical economic and social problems facing this nation;
• The PNCR will not be distracted by this attitude and wishes to reiterate that the VAT tax should be reduced to 10% and that the PPP/C Government reviews the administration of the tax and its overall effect on the Guyanese people.

YOUMAN NABI GREETINGS:

The People’s National Congress Reform wishes to extend greetings to our Muslim brothers and sisters in Guyana and to the Muslim community throughout the world on the important occasion of Youman Nabi, the birth anniversary of the Holy Prophet Muhammed, the final messenger of God to mankind.

The Party takes particular note of the fact that the Holy Prophet Muhammed has left a legacy of a religion that is universal in scope and purpose, which promotes an end to human suffering, disease and poverty. More particularly this legacy is consistent with the promotion of peace and harmony in our country and the rest of the world.

This legacy is important not only for the spiritual development of this nation but also for its commitment to ending disease, poverty and backwardness and the promotion of harmony in Guyana. Guyanese can benefit from this legacy by using it as an instrument not only for the promotion of understanding among our various ethnic groups but also and more importantly for bringing a healing touch to the dilemmas and challenges which afflict the nation at the present time. The PNCR is referring in particular to the spiraling drug culture, the scourge of violence and the spate of brutal murders, a situation which has scarred the social landscape and has earned us a certain degree of regional and international disrepute.

The PNCR, therefore, wishes to suggest to the nation that as we reflect on the significance of the birth of the Holy Prophet we take to heart the message and lessons of the doctrines of this great religion and use them as important instruments for improving our society in such a way that we can begin to see the end of the vicious cycle of violence and witness the creations of conditions for racial harmony, peace and the real development in Guyana.

PHAGWAH MESSAGE:

As the Party which was instrumental in making the celebration of religious holidays a reality, the PNCR takes great pleasure in joining the Hindu community in Guyana and the rest of the world in celebrating the Festival of Phagwah. The significance of this festival resides in the fact that it has both a religious as well as a secular application. In its religious context it represents the triumph of good over evil, whereas in its secular connotation it depicts a joyous and colourful celebration of our one humanity.

While the PNCR cannot in all good conscience say that there is irreversible evil in our land, the Party must point out that developments over the last decade would give any right thinking Guyanese good reason to pause and ask the question: in what direction is the nation headed? For we have seen over this period a number of negative developments, such as bad administration, intolerance, poor economic management, violence, the scourge of drugs and the lamentable state of our youth and the elderly.

The Party, however, believes that the myriad problems, political, social and economic in nature can be overcome if the entire nation is united in purpose and guided by a vision that there is yet time to rebuild our country, heal the nation, and put it on an irreversible course to measurable development and tangible social and economic progress.

Mindful of the prospect of such a bright future the PNCR urges all Guyanese to join in the colourful and joyous celebration that the spring festival of Phagwah represents in its secular context.




EASTER MESSAGE:

The PNCR wishes to extend Easter greetings to all Guyanese of the Christian Faith and members of the Christian community throughout the world on the occasion of the celebration of one of the most important events in the Christian calendar. The festival of Easter commemorates the death of Jesus Christ and the celebration of His Resurrection. This festival in its symbolic significance and secular relevance contains an important and powerful message.

In the judgement of the PNCR that message says to all Guyanese who have the future of this nation at heart that it does not matter what difficult conditions or circumstances the nation has to navigate, the people will ultimately triumph once they have enough faith in God and are inspired by a vision of the future though intelligent, courageous and God centered leadership. In other words the dream of a united and prosperous Guyana may appear on occasion to be crucified by the many problems the nation faces from time to time. However, that dream is always resurrected by the faith, energy, innovation and courage of the Guyanese people.

It only remains for the People’s National Congress Reform to wish each and every Guyanese, who celebrate this event regardless of religious persuasion or ethnic background, a joyous and fulfilling Easter.

PPP CONTINUES TO POISON POLITICAL ATMOSPHERE:

The PNCR has already drawn the public attention to the fact that representatives of the PPP and the PPP/C Administration continue to make irresponsible and inflammatory statements which have undermined the climate of trust and understanding necessary for the resolution of the current security crisis and the other critical economic and social problems facing this nation.

This practice by the PPP/C representatives reached a new low on Sunday, March 16th on the NCN programme, “Perspectives of the Week” hosted by the so-called academic Prem Misir, in which Anil Nandalall and Irfaan Ali participated. For the time being the PNCR will ignore the well known arid pronouncements of Prem Misir and the wild statements of Irfaan Ali. The focus is on Nandalall, and in particular, his assertion that the call by the Leader of the PNCR for assistance to Buxton was tantamount to racism.

The PNCR cannot understand by what torturous logic the call for help to Buxton in view of the suffering of its people and the assault on the village by elements of the security forces can be construed as racism. It therefore dismisses such a charge with the appropriate disdain. But Nandalall has brought attention to himself as far as racist statements are concerned in this country.

The Party wishes to remind Mr. Nandalall that last year, during the celebration of Indian Arrival Day, he made the following racist remarks:

“We came as beggars and today we are kings…and East Indians have dominated in every sphere of life in this country – in the area of politics, law, finance, business, literature, sports… you name it.”

It is a statement of ethnic triumphalism which is unrivaled in the post-independence history of Guyana. The political neophyte Nandalall will learn that especially in politics if you live in a glass house you cannot throw stones.

THE CONQUEST OF BREAD:

The affordability of a basic food item such as bread is now posing a major challenge to many Guyanese. This situation has dramatized the extent to which the Value Added Tax (VAT) of 16% continues to be a burden to the long suffering citizens of this Republic. The Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh announced in his Budget speech that flour would be zero rated. Yet the price of bread has risen: bread which is so necessary and essential to many Guyanese.

It is interesting to note what one proprietor of a baking establishment said when challenged by the PPP/C Administration for raising the price of bread. That person pointed out that while flour is zero rated the other elements necessary for the production and distribution of bread had risen astronomically. Surely by now the evidence is incontrovertible that the 16% VAT tax is causing the kind of hardship that any caring and sensitive Government would take into account in administering the affairs of this nation.

The PPP/C Administration, however, continues its obdurate disregard for the effects of the tax and indeed made bold to proclaim through the agency of the Prime Minister that it cannot be removed. The PNCR, however, will not be distracted by this attitude and wishes to reiterate that the VAT tax should be reduced to 10% and that the PPP/C Government reviews the administration of the tax and its overall effect on the Guyanese people.

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia
Georgetown, Guyana.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008