PRESS STATEMENT By People’s National Congress Reform Friday 19 September 2008 Media Centre, Congress Place, Sophia




SUMMARY:
• The PNCR has never been impressed by Bharrat Jagdeo’s frenzied attack on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and the Regional Negotiating Machinery (RNM);
• The PNCR takes the position that it will once more call on the Jagdeo regime to publish the Torture Report and the names of the officers who have been fingered by that Report;
• The PNCR takes the opportunity to raise the question again of the delay of the inquest into the death of Travis Parks;
• The PNCR salutes the strength and determination of the nurses at Linden for staging their well supported and very vocal protest march through the mining town on Wednesday, 17th September, 2008;
• The PNCR celebrates with residents of Santa Mission and Santa Aratak as part of Amerindian Heritage Month.

JAGDEO REGIME HYPOCRISY ON EPA:

The PNCR has never been impressed by Bharrat Jagdeo’s frenzied attack on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and the Regional Negotiating Machinery (RNM). The Party always believed that the extreme position staked out by him was a result of sharp internal differences on the significance of the EPA and the contribution of the RNM to the completion of the Agreement. Moreover, his pronouncements on these matters were more personalized than considered policy positions.

The fact of the matter is that the Jagdeo regime initially supported the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). It is interesting to note that the Stabroek News reported on December 25th of 2007 that “Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Roger Luncheon told the media on Friday that Cabinet considered the performance of the RNM negotiators commendable.” In that same article entitled “Govt lauds Caricom negotiators on EPA deal”, the Minister of Foreign Trade, Mr. Henry Jeffrey, was supportive of the EPA, while pointing out areas in which there might have been some improvement. As regards the RNM Jeffrey is quoted as saying “They have done well in terms of hard negotiations. It was four years of hard slog and I think for the most part they have come through for us.” Neville Totaram, who is Guyana’s representative on the RNM thought it is a good agreement.

It is now clear that it is not the PNCR which has changed its position; it is the Jagdeo regime. And in the view of the article from which the above quotations have been given, President Jagdeo’s attack on the RNM and the Caribbean Heads of Government is both cynical and irresponsible.




















In this picture is the panel for the Press Conference which was held in the Media Centre at Congress Place September19, 2008. From left are Mr. Aubrey Norton, M.P. and member of the Central Executive Committee, Mr. Keith Scott, M.P. and Ms. Africo Selman, M.P.

TORTURE REPORT:

The Jagdeo regime has adamantly refused to publish the Report on Torture, which is based on investigations conducted by the Guyana Defence Force (GDF). The PNCR has held and continues to hold that the reluctance to release the Report has to do with the fact that it fingers members of the army who are close to the Jagdeo regime. However, the names of the officers concerned are well known and in one particular instance has been placed in the public domain.

The PNCR therefore takes the position that it will once more call on the Jagdeo regime to publish the Torture Report and the names of the officers who have been fingered by that Report. If the Jagdeo regime persists in its attitude of refusing to publish the Report, the Party will have no choice but to reveal the names of the guilty officers.

At the same time the PNCR must call on the Jagdeo regime to honour its promise to investigate the torturing of Patrick Sumner and Victor Jones. The Minister of Home Affairs had undertaken to ensure that such an investigation will take place. Months later the promised investigation is yet to materialise.

PNCR NOTES CHARGES TO BE LAID IN CASE OF EDWIN NILES; CALLS ON JAGDEO REGIM|E TO HOLD INQUEST INTO DEATH OF TRAVIS PARKS:

The PNCR had noted reports in the media that the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) has recommended that two members of the Guyana Prison Service be charged with manslaughter for causing the death of Edwin Niles.

The Party takes the opportunity to raise the question again of the delay of the inquest into the death of Travis Parks. The PNCR notes that the DPP had requested that such an inquest be held more than three months ago. Continued delay in bringing closure in this matter will only caused further grief and agony to the family of this young man, especially his mother, and undermine the rule of law and order in Guyana.

LINDEN NURSES:

The PNCR salutes the strength and determination of the nurses at Linden for staging their well supported and very vocal protest march through the mining town on Wednesday, 17th September, 2008. They received the full support of the community, the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) of Region 10 and the support of the PNCR who were represented by their Regional Member of Parliament, Ms. Vanessa Kissoon, as well as other PNCR Parliamentarians such as Mr. Keith Scott and Mr. Aubrey Norton.

The PNCR reiterates its condemnation of the heinous crime of rape as well as the robbery. While the Party is relieved by the arrest of the perpetrators, the blame for their grievances must be squarely laid at the foot of the Minister of Health. This gentleman who likes to think that all is well in his Ministry must now address the safety and security concerns of the hospital staff as well as the other long standing grievances. The Party awaits the full implementation of the Terms of Agreement to which all parties are committed.

AMERINDIAN HERITAGE MONTH CELEBRATIONS:

Santa Mission and Santa Aratak came alive last Saturday 13th September when the PNCR celebrated with residents as a part of Amerindian Heritage Month.

Toushau George Norton, M.P. and member of the Central Executive Committee (CEC), led a delegation to these communities which included the Party’s Vice-Chairman and Director of the Party’s Human Services and Welfare Division, Ms. Volda Lawrence, M.P., Central Executive Members, Mr. Mervyn Williams, M.P. and Ms. Cheryl Sampson, who is also National Chairman of the National Congress of Women (NCW).

The senior members of the PNCR participated in the multi-faceted programme which included cultural events and the opening of a new school building without furniture among others. Toushau Norton extended greetings on behalf of his community, Riversview in Region 7.


People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia
Georgetown, Guyana
Friday 19 September 2008.