PRESS STATEMENT By People’s National Congress Reform Thursday 18 December, 2008 Media Centre, Congress Place, Sophia



• The People’s National Congress Reform would like to extend to all Guyanese at home and abroad a peaceful and enjoyable Christmas;
• Even as the Party extends wishes for an enjoyable Christmas to all our fellow citizens, it cannot ignore the environment in which Christmas is being celebrated this year. By any realistic assessment, Guyanese will be facing a bleak Christmas;
• The PPP/C Administration has an obligation to pay compensation to all Guyanese who have suffered loss and are still suffering because of the present floods;
• The Government cannot continue to penalise the people of Linden and freeze applications by existing television stations to expand the reach of their signals, while allowing NCN channel 11 to do so;
• The PNCR extends sincere condolences to the families of Corporal Wesley Hopkinson and Private Colwyn Harris who lost their lives as a result of an accident on the Cuyuni River on December 8, 2008.

CHRISTMAS GREETINGS TO ALL GUYANESE:

In approximately a week Guyanese of all religions and persuasions will be celebrating the Christian festival of Christmas. Christmas, which is the celebration of the birth of Christ, has a central message of peace and goodwill to all men. The People’s National Congress Reform would like to extend this message to all Guyanese at home and abroad and hope that they will have a peaceful and enjoyable Christmas.

Even though it is a time of joy and festivity, Christmas also provides an important moment in the year for reflection and resolution. The PNCR hopes that the Guyanese people, even as they enjoy this wonderful season, would find space and time in their personal lives to think about the direction that their community and the country is taking and to make resolutions to actively contribute to their solution.

Happy Christmas to all Guyanese!


A BLEAK CHRISTMAS:

Even as the Party extends wishes for an enjoyable Christmas to all our fellow citizens, it cannot ignore the environment in which Christmas is being celebrated this year. By any realistic assessment, Guyanese will be facing a bleak Christmas.

The general population is facing difficult times as the economy spirals out of control, characterised by minimal growth, declining agricultural production and high unemployment. The global economic crisis and the high cost of living have severely challenged our citizens. In particular, the unconscionable VAT has added to the burdens of daily life. In specific terms, public servants and teachers are naked as the chill winds of economic hardship blow through the nation. The Jagdeo Administration has unashamedly announced that there will be no increases for the public servants. In the meantime, the long promised single parent fund remains unimplemented. This fund was announced by President Jagdeo when the PNCR had initiated public action to protest the high cost of Living and the Party had also stated that the nation could not afford CARIFESTA X. Persistent calls by the PNCR for this measure to be implemented have fallen on deaf ears and single parents will now have to celebrate Christmas without the benefit of this relief measure. The PNCR’s assertion that Guyana could not afford CARIFESTA X is now being vindicated. The PPP/C ignored the PNCR’s advice to the nation’s peril.

Like a modern day Scrooge, the Jagdeo Administration can turn its back on single parents, teachers and public servants. Most of all it can behave in this unseemly fashion with the elderly and the pensioners who will get no increases at this time of the year. Guyanese are now left to judge the stewardship of the unconscionable regime.

LACK OF PREPARATIONS FOR RAINFALL WORRISOME - GOVERNMENT MUST PAY COMPENSATION:

It must be obvious by now to the Guyanese population that the Jagdeo Administration is at its lethargic best when it comes to making adequate preparations for the current rainy season. The frantic last minute and uncoordinated activities are enough evidence that since the traumatic floods of 2005 this administration has done very little to prepare for the current floods. This is all the more troubling as those floods not only caused the loss of lives but also substantial economic ruin for many Guyanese. Now in 2008, flooding has been serious in several parts of the country such as Ithaca, Pouderoyen, Pomeroon and several communities along the East Coast. There have already been major economic losses for Guyanese.

At the end of 2005, based on reports done by the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) and the IDB, there was a clear agenda for action by the Jagdeo Administration. These recommendations included, attending to the infrastructure of the MMA, repairing vulnerable sections of the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC) dam; installing new pumps in the city; and the dredging of silted rivers. No attention was paid to these urgent problems and it appears that no provision was made to fund them. Instead, in spite of the warnings of the PNCR, the Jagdeo Administration hosted CARIFESTA X spending in excess of G$700M. That money is desperately needed now to deal with the serious flooding situation in Guyana. The PPP/C Administration has an obligation to pay compensation to all Guyanese who have suffered loss and are still suffering because of the present floods.

PNCR WELCOMES RULING OF THE CHIEF JUSTICE - EXISTING STATIONS APPLICATION TO EXTEND THEIR SIGNALS MUST BE IMMEDIATELY APPROVED.

The People’s National Congress Reform welcomes the landmark decision of the Chief Justice Ian Chang when he ruled on December 12th that it was a breach of the citizens of Linden Constitutional rights to deny them access to view television stations / channels of their choice. The Government cannot continue to penalise the people of Linden and freeze applications by existing television stations to expand the reach of their signals, while allowing NCN channel 11 to do so. HBTV Channel 9, VCT Channel 28 and CNS Channel 6 had all applied to extend their signals but were denied access by the Government while NCN, the monopoly TV station, was used as a PPP propaganda medium.

The PNCR has strongly advocated the extension of broadcast signals to all parts of the country including Linden, as part of the necessary exercise of opening up the information sector. The Party notes that the Chief Justice‘s decision upholds Article 146 of the Constitution, which states that Guyanese should not be restricted in their freedom to receive ideas and information.

The decision of this Government to appeal this ruling is a further reflection of their desire to make Guyana a repressive state. The right of the citizen to have access to information is basic in any democracy. The Jagdeo regime fails to understand the necessity for citizens to have access to a wide variety of information so that they can make important decisions that impact their lives. History will not judge this regime kindly.





PNCR EXTENDS CONDOLENCES TO THE FAMILIES AND RELATIVES OF SOLDIERS KILLED IN THE CUYUNI:

The PNCR extends sincere condolences to the families of Corporal Wesley Hopkinson and Private Colwyn Harris who lost their lives as a result of an accident on the Cuyuni River on December 8, 2008.

The Party is impressed by the fact that these two brave young men were at the time playing their part in ensuring the defence of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Guyana.


People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia
Georgetown, Guyana
Thursday 18 December, 2008