PRESS STATEMENT By People’s National Congress Reform Friday 4 July 2008 Media Centre, Congress Place, Sophia




SUMMARY:
• In assessing the preliminary results of the Grade 6 examination, the Party has made careful note of the fact that most of the students are not from the traditional top schools. This could only mean that both parents and the institutions concerned had made sterling efforts to improve and strengthen the education of these students;
• The Joint Opposition Parties believe that the Petition will enable the CARICOM Heads to have a more realistic assessment of the current situation in Guyana, particularly in the context of the hosting of CARIFESTA X;
• The PNCR has dispatched a message of congratulations to the Caribbean Community, on the occasion of its 35th Anniversary;
• The suffering of the Guyanese people, in the current economic circumstances, seems to have gone unnoticed by the Jagdeo Administration;
• The PNCR is very apprehensive that, the apparent intention of the Government is to ensure that the massacre at Lindo Creek would remain one of the already large numbers of unsolved mysteries, in the sordid history of Guyana over the last 15 years;
• It passes all understanding that Roger Khan would be known, in his business capacity, and suddenly become unknown in his criminal capacity. The PNCR finds it strange that the Jagdeo Administration seems blind to the dangers that it is facing. It is not any local political party or organisation that is bringing evidence to light, of the relationship between the Jagdeo Administration and Roger Khan. It is the United States Government.

PEOPLE’S NATIONAL CONGRESS REFORM CONGRATULATES SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATES AT GRADE 6 EXAMS:

On the basis of results announced by the Minister of Education, Mr. Shaik Baksh, on 30 June 2008, the PNCR extends congratulations to the top ten students who successfully completed the Grade 6 examinations. They are Yogeeta Persaud, Sayyid Rajab, Arianna Seeraj, Shahrazaed Khan, Ridwaan Safi, Crystal Ramdayal, Jonelle Europe, Zimeena Rasheed, Kavita Sawh, Cecil Cox, Sharmila Ramlall, Shaphan Hestick, and Eunice Hammond.

In assessing these preliminary results, the Party has made careful note of the fact that most of these students are not from the traditional top schools. This could only mean that both parents and the institutions concerned had made sterling efforts to improve and strengthen the education of these students.

In extending its congratulations the Party wishes these students every success, at the secondary level, and is convinced that, as is to be expected, they will also go on to do well at the tertiary level. This should bode well for the future development of the country, as Guyana will need to replace the massive losses of human resources and to have in place the required levels of such resources to undertake its future long term development.

PNCR PRESENTS PETITION TO THE CARICOM HEADS OF GOVERNMENT:

A Petition, signed by the Leaders of the Joint Opposition Parties, the PNCR, the AFC, and GAP/ROAR, and by Guyanese citizens from all of the ten Regions of Guyana, along with persons in the Guyanese Diaspora, was presented to the Chairman of the Caribbean Community, when the Heads convened for their 29th Summit Conference, in Antigua and Barbuda, on the 1st July 2008.

The petition, which attracted more than eight thousand signatures, was handed over by the General Secretary of the PNCR, Mr. Oscar Clarke. He was accompanied by Ms. Africo Selman, MP

The petition was drafted against the background of a number of negative developments in the political, economic and social life of the nation: the cost-of-living which has risen sharply since the introduction of the unconscionable 16% Value Added Tax (VAT); the attack on the right to the Freedom of Expression, evidenced by the four month suspension of the license of CNS TV6; the harassment of our citizens and the violation of their Human Rights; the incarceration of Oliver Hinckson on a trumped up charge of sedition and the refusal to grant him bail; the refusal to enact freedom of information legislation; the improper extension of the life of the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC); the use of torture by the security forces; and the general framework of bad governance, among other issues.

The PNCR, after consultations with the other Opposition parties, civil society organisations and the Trades unions, has implemented a programme of marches and picketing exercises to register public concern and outrage at the above developments.

It is evident that the current tensions in Guyana are not conducive for the creation of a suitable environment for the hosting of CARIFESTA X. The reality is that the Jagdeo Administration has decided, without any prior consultation with other Stakeholders in Guyana, including the Opposition Political Parties, to unilaterally go ahead with the hosting of CARIFESTA X at the projected cost of more than G$500M. In circumstances, where the majority of the Guyanese people are finding it difficult, if not impossible to survive the oppressive cost-of-living, coupled with the daily incidence of bad Governance, and the deteriorating national security situation, the Party has made it clear publicly that the current environment is unlikely to facilitate the successful holding of CARIFESTA X.

The Joint Opposition Parties believe that the Petition will enable the CARICOM Heads to have a more realistic assessment of the current situation in Guyana, particularly in the context of the hosting of CARIFESTA X.

THE PNCR EXTENDS CONGRATULATIONS TO CARICOM.ON 35TH ANNIVERSARY:

The PNCR has dispatched a message of congratulations to the Caribbean Community, on the occasion of its 35th Anniversary.

In that message, the Party reaffirmed its commitment to the integration process and stated its belief that the Community will fulfil the dreams and vision of the Founding Fathers, L.F.S. Burnham of Guyana, Michael Manley of Jamaica and Errol Barrow of Barbados, and the hopes and aspirations of the Caribbean people.

However, in congratulating the Community, the Party pointed out, that in order to advance the integration process, there is the need for the decision-making process to be re-engineered, in such a manner that there could be the speedy implementation of decisions, on such issues as the Caricom Single Market and Economy, the free movement of people within the region, the Regional Development Fund and the involvement of the people, across the region.

JAGDEO ADMINISTRATION REFUSES TO BRING RELIEF TO THE GUYANESE PEOPLE:

The Leader of the PNCR has criticized the Jagdeo Administration for seeking to make the National Assembly a mere instrument of propaganda, in relation to the causes and solutions for the spiralling cost of living in Guyana.

The Leader of the PNCR and Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Robert Corbin, pointed out that the Motion, brought before the National Assembly by the Jagdeo Administration, lacked any comprehensive programme or proposals for Governmental action to address the oppressive effects of the escalating cost-of-living. The Motion was merely propagandistic in intent and represented a calculated insult to role of the National Assembly. The presentations and attitude of the speakers, particularly the Ministers, representing the Administration, during the Debate of the Motion, confirmed the worst fears of the Party and its Leader.

The PNCR’s disappointment over the Jagdeo regime’s Motion, in the National Assembly, resides in the fact that, while the cost-of-living continues to batter the Guyanese people, the regime has all but closed its ears to the agony and grief, which has arisen because of the lack of active and expeditious measures to bring relief to the people.

The Party has asserted that the spiralling cost-of-living is not entirely due to external factors and circumstances, but exacerbated by imposition of the unconscionable 16 % Vat, without any corresponding reform of the existing penal tax regime. As a consequence, food and other prices, including transportation, have spiralled out of control and is having a deleterious impact, particularly on the growing army of the poor and vulnerable segments of the society.

The suffering of the Guyanese people, in the current economic circumstances, seems to have gone unnoticed by the Jagdeo Administration. The regime has been unresponsive to the many reasonable recommendations that workers in the public and private sector need to have their wages and salaries revised substantially upwards in order to cope with current cost-of-living. The Party has argued too that pensioners, single parent families and other vulnerable elements of the society must have substantial increases in the assistance received from the Government.

The Jagdeo Administration deceived the people of Guyana by its propaganda that the imposition of the VAT would be Revenue Neutral. The reality is that the 16% VAT has resulted in the Government collecting a tax windfall in excess of $12Bn. Therefore, it is nothing short of being disingenuous, that the Jagdeo administration is attempting to dodge the consequences of its gross deception, by hiding behind esoteric and obfuscatory budgetary explanations.

President Jagdeo, and his Ministerial cohorts, must give a credible and explanation, to the Guyanese people, why they cannot fund payments, to the Guyanese workers, pensioners and those who receive public assistance, from the $12Bn windfall it has garnered from the imposition of the 16% VAT.

The PNCR urges the Minister of Human Services and Social Security to get off the high political horse which she mounted, during the Debate of the Government’s farcical Motion in the National Assembly, and implement the long promised and outstanding programme of assistance to Single Parents families.

THE JAGDEO ADMMINISTRATION IS SEEKING TO DELAY INVESTIGATION INTO MASSACRE AT LINDO CREEK:

Based on its previous experience, the PNCR is not surprised that the Jagdeo Administration is doing all that is necessary to delay an independent inquiry into the massacre at Lindo Creek.

After the PNCR and other political parties and the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) called for an independent inquiry into this matter, President Jagdeo retreated into his usual mode to deceive and delay. His response was that if he – the king and landlord of Guyana – decided to go the route of an Inquiry he would have to consider including the Lusignan and Bartica Massacres to determine whether there was political involvement. If ever there was a political red herring this is it.

The Lusignan and Bartica Massacres were not situations in which the security forces were accused of massacring citizens of this Republic. This is the first nonsense that the PNCR must reject. Then President Jagdeo claimed that he has asked the United States Government for forensic experts to come and investigate the massacre. However, it is strange that neither his Minister of Home Affairs nor any other senior officials of the Government can say when these experts are expected to arrive.

The PNCR is very apprehensive that, the apparent intention of the Government is to ensure that the massacre at Lindo Creek would remain one of the already large numbers of unsolved mysteries, in the sordid history of Guyana over the last 15 years. This would be a great disservice to the grieving families of the miners and a blow to the rule of law in Guyana.

THE JAGDEO ADMINISTRATION HAS CONFESSED TO KNOWING ROGER KHAN:

The PNCR is a political party which has been in existence for more than 50 years, Therefore, we can quickly spot any effort at political distraction and diversion. In recent times, the Jagdeo Administration has been beating the drum about missing guns in the 70s and threatening to expose politicians who have allegedly consorted with criminals at Buxton.

In the latter case, President Jagdeo has threatened to make the video recordings available to the public. He argues, however, that he is afraid that if he does so he would give away his “informers.” Evidently, it has not occurred to President Jagdeo that, even in revealing that he got information from informers in Buxton, he has already blown their cover. But that is a matter for President Jagdeo and his informers.

The PNCR is convinced that the issues, referred to above, are nothing but a barely concealed attempt to cover up further evidence that the Jagdeo Administration has been in bed with Roger Khan.

The Guyanese public will remember that, in a newscast approximately a fortnight ago, Capitol News was able to produce evidence that President Jagdeo himself had signed the documents allowing Roger Khan to purchase land on the West Coast of Demerara. Faced with this situation, the Jagdeo Administration’s principal spin master, Dr. Roger Luncheon, who had previously denied all knowledge or association with Roger Khan, admitted that he was known to the Government in a business capacity.

It passes all understanding that Roger Khan would be known, in his business capacity, and suddenly become unknown in his criminal capacity. The PNCR finds it strange that the Jagdeo Administration seems blind to the dangers that it is facing. It is not any local political party or organisation that is bringing evidence to light, of the relationship between the Jagdeo Administration and Roger Khan. It is the United States Government.

If a case can be made, and the PNCR believes that it will be made, that Roger Khan enjoyed a cosseted relationship with the Jagdeo Administration, then there is bound to be far reaching consequences for this Administration, from the United States Government and the rest of the international community.


People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia
Georgetown, Guyana.
Friday 4 July, 2008