PRESS STATEMENT By People’s National Congress Reform Thursday 11 September 2008 Media Centre, Congress Place, Sophia




SUMMARY:
• The recent revelations in the court documents in the Khan case is yet another indication that as this pre-trial and actual trial takes place, the link between Khan and the Jagdeo Administration will be clear;
• The PNCR wishes to make it quite clear that the safety and well being of Oliver Hinckson is a direct responsibility of the Jagdeo regime and, therefore, if any harm should come to him, the Administration would be accountable to the Guyanese people;
• The PNCR hastens to tender its sincere condolences to the wife, immediate family and friends of Egbert Benjamin;
• The PNCR hopes that the Jagdeo Administration and the Ministry of Education, among other matters, takes advantage of the opportunity to examine the ways and means by which the conditions of our teachers can be improved and the education system bettered, throughout the entire country, in physical and human terms;
• The Jagdeo Administration has been awarding substantial contracts to individuals and companies without saying who these are;
• The cost of food stuff has also risen and an essential commodity like sugar is being sold at steep prices;
• The PNCR once more calls upon the Jagdeo Administration to implement the Single Parents Fund, as a matter of urgency, as the social and economic circumstances of most families in Guyana, especially single parent families, are under great stress.

REVELATIONS IN KHAN CASE CONFIRMS PNCR’S POSITION:

The PNCR has followed recent reports that the lawyer representing Roger Khan has been arrested for allegedly planning the elimination and the neutralising of key witnesses in the case against Khan. What is indeed alarming and what has been made clear in the excerpts in the court documents, is that the “phantom squad”, on the orders of Roger Khan, was supposed to carry out this exercise. Indeed, here is confirmation that Khan is the head of the “phantom squad” which every Guyanese knows operates both in and out of Guyana. These revelations have confirmed what the PNCR has been saying all along, that is, Khan has used “phantom squads” to carry out his biddings and the activities of his criminal enterprise.

These revelations are all the more important because Khan has admitted a relationship with the Jagdeo Administration. In statements he made before his arrest in Suriname, Khan boasted that he had been engaged in crime fighting activities to support and protect the Jagdeo Administration. On the basis of the foregoing evidence such crime fighting activities had to be done by the “phantom squad.” Its stands to reason therefore that Jagdeo and his cohorts cannot pretend to be unaware of what Roger Khan and his criminals were doing. The bombshell revelation of today are a further indication that as the pre-trial and actual trial take place it will emerge with even greater clarity that the Jagdeo Administration was in bed with Roger Khan, his “phantom squad” and the drug cartels.

The PNCR believes, that based on the confirmation by the US courts that Khan was head of the “phantom squad” which operated in Guyana, the Commissioner of Police and other law enforcement agencies must immediately begin an investigation into the extra-judicial killings of more than three hundred (300) Guyanese citizens between 2002 and 2004 by the Roger Khan criminal enterprise.

















In this picture is the panel for the Press Conference which was held in the Media Centre at Congress Place September11, 2008. From left are Mr. Aubrey Norton, M.P. and member of the Central Executive Committee, Ms. Amna Ally, M.P. and member of the C.E.C. and Mr. Ronald Austin, Head of the Party’s Public Relations Department.

THE JAGDEO ADMINISTRATION IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PROTECTION OF HINCKSON”S LIFE:

The PNCR is deeply concerned about continuing reports that Oliver Hinckson has been placed in solitary confinement, without proper procedures being observed, shunted from police station to police station, repeatedly denied bail and, generally, being harassed by the Jagdeo PPP/C Administration.

It seems that the conditions are being created to harm Oliver Hinckson physically or to break his spirit. In the circumstances, where the security forces seem to have been given licence for such violations against Mr. Hinckson, matters could easily get out of hand with potentially disastrous consequences. Guyanese will remember that it was such unsavoury and illegal methods that led to the recent death of Edwin Niles.

The PNCR wishes to make it quite clear that the safety and well being of Oliver Hinckson is a direct responsibility of the Jagdeo regime and, therefore, if any harm should come to him, the Administration would be accountable to the Guyanese people.

It is time that the Jagdeo Administration understands that the continued suppression of the rights of individual citizens is highly provocative and can lead to consequences which will have a negative impact on the political and economical development of this society.

The Jagdeo Administration must drop the pretence that Hinckson is being tried for sedition and encouraging others to commit a terrorist act. Oliver Hinckson is a political prisoner. Nothing which is said or done by the Jagdeo Administration, at this time, suggests otherwise.

PNCR NOTES PASSING OF FORMER LINDEN MAYOR EGBERT BENJAMIN:

The People’s National Congress Reform is saddened by the passing of Mr. Egbert Benjamin, the former Mayor of Linden. The Party hastens to tender its sincere condolences to his wife, immediate family and friends.

The PNCR wishes to take this opportunity to place on record its appreciation of Egbert Benjamin’s services to the Party and to recognise his many achievements as Mayor of Linden. Mr. Benjamin brought a significant degree of efficiency to his responsibilities as Mayor and worked hard for an improvement of the community and people of Linden. Mr. Benjamin also was responsible for the construction of two main roads at Wismar, Burnham Drive and Cholmondely Hill. It is also generally agreed that he was the initiator of the project at Christianburg to stop a major erosion of the river bed.

Equally the PNCR must thank the family of Egbert Benjamin who provided him with the support and comfort which freed him to devote his time and energies to the PNCR and the development of Linden. The Party is confident that, without such support, he would not have been the committed and loyal servant that he eventually became to his community and his nation.

A devout Christian, Mr. Benjamin was a good family man and someone passionately interested in the development of his community and his country.

PNCR WELCOMES EDUCATION MONTH:

The PNCR welcomes Education month which is being held under the theme “Education of the Child - A Parent and Teacher obligation.” The Party hopes that the Jagdeo Administration and the Ministry of Education, among other matters, take advantage of the opportunity to examine the ways and means by which the conditions of our teachers can be improved and the education system bettered, throughout the entire country, in physical and human terms. This can only come about if serious attention is paid to the deficiencies of the system and measures taken to correct them. The Party wishes to refer to some of these problems.

The Party is concerned that the approach of the Ministry to this important event is not characterised by the requisite sensitivity and concern for the rural and Indigenous Communities. The Minister of Education must be faulted for his rather cavalier approach to the need for flush toilets in all schools, regardless of where the community is located. This is a matter that the Minister, and the Ministry he heads, must treat with urgency.

It is unfortunate that, at the very moment that his Government is celebrating Amerindian Heritage Month, he is treating our Indigenous brothers and sisters with disdain.

The PNCR draws attention to the fire which destroyed the dormitory at Waramadong. The Party has already extended its sympathy to the parents and other relatives of those who perished or suffered other losses as a result of the fire. The Ministry must act with dispatch to rebuild this dormitory and to ensure that all school buildings are made safe and secure for those who occupy them.

The Minister must pay attention to the substandard infrastructural works in many schools in different parts of the country. The lapses of planning for rehabilitation works, to be undertaken while the schools were in recess, caused these works not to be completed on time to prevent the disruption of classes or delay the opening of some schools.

The Minister must answer the question why the printing of school exercise books has been done in Trinidad, as opposed to here in Guyana. In any event, this has led to the postponement of the Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI) Programme. This is an unacceptable situation which is likely to slow down the implementation of the project.

THE JAGDEO ADMINISTRATION MUST PUBLISH THE NAMES OF INDIVIDUALS AND COMPANIES AWARDED CONTRACTS:

The Jagdeo Administration has repeatedly said that it believes in transparency and accountability when it comes to the award of contracts. In this, as in other matters, its behaviour belies its utterances. It is evident that the Jagdeo PPP/C Administration does not wish there to be any effective National Assembly oversight of its public procurement practices.

The PNCR draws attention to the continued resistance of the Administration the efforts to establish the Constitutionally mandated Public Procurement Commission and to ensure that the Office of the Auditor General is fully autonomous and urgently provided with the resources to conduct Value for Money audits.

For some time now, the Jagdeo Administration has been awarding substantial contracts to individuals and companies without saying who they are. There must be some major political reason for the adoption of this approach for the award of contracts. This is not difficult to discern, since the Jagdeo Administration continues to award substantial contracts to its cronies and is, therefore, reluctant to publish their names in the media.

As a consequence, the Guyanese people cannot determine whether contracts are being awarded in an equitable manner or whether political considerations predominate. The Administration should, in the interest of transparency, ensure that the names of the individuals and companies are published when contracts are awarded in the future.

COST OF LIVING:

The PNCR finds it necessary to recur to the issue of the cost of living. The Party has consistently drawn attention to the upward movement in prices, particularly, as a result of the unconscionable 16% VAT. The Jagdeo Administration has responded with an arrogant silence to calls for the VAT to be reduced to no more than 10%. But this will not deter the PNCR from pleading its case and demanding substantial improvements in the wages and salaries of public servants and employees in the private sector.

The Party wishes note to be taken of the sudden and unexpected spike in electricity rates which have imposed a further burden on the Guyanese people. The cost of food stuff has also risen and an essential commodity like sugar is being sold at steep prices. Nothing that the PNCR has seen or heard suggests any moderation of these prices, as the propaganda of the Jagdeo Administration has been suggesting.

JAGDEO ADMINISTRATION YET TO IMPLEMENT SINGLE PARENT FUND:

Almost a year ago, President Bharrat Jagdeo announced that the Government was creating a fund to help single parents to cope with the rising cost of living. The PNCR indicated very early that it supported such a fund, in principle, but issued the caveat that it should be fairly and equitably administered. The Party also made recommendations for the improvement of the Fund.

The PNCR had done so in the expectation that, given the trying economic circumstances facing single parents, the Jagdeo Administration would have taken the necessary measures to have the fund implemented, as a matter of urgency. But this was clearly too much to hope for. The Jagdeo Administration is fiddling while single parents are being hammered by the rising cost of living.

In June of this year, the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security announced that it was processing some thirty thousand (30,000) single parent forms. Again hopes were raised only to be dashed.

The PNCR once more calls upon the Jagdeo Administration to implement the Fund, as a matter of urgency, as the social and economic circumstances of most families in Guyana, especially single parent families, are under great stress.

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia
Georgetown, Guyana
Thursday 11 September 2008.