NATIONAL UNITY AND NATIONAL RECONCILIATION--PRESS STATEMENT Wednesday 8 April 2009




SUMMARY:
• The People’s National Congress Reform wishes all Guyanese a happy, joyous and fulfilling Easter;
• The PNCR is convinced that the utterances and conduct of the President are contrived to prevent the creation of an environment of trust, which he claims to believe can lead to the construction of the requisite framework for meaningful political dialogue on Guyana’s problems.

EASTER MESSAGE

Easter Greetings are extended to all Guyanese especially members of the Christian community in this Region and the rest of the world.

This important event in the Christian calendar has its significance through the death of Jesus Christ and the celebration of his resurrection. Its symbolic values lie in the fact that death is followed by resurrection.

This message must resonate with all Guyanese as the nation grapples with the variety of serious problems. The Easter Festival is one of hope that, at the end of the day, what is right and good would triumph, over what is difficult and appears hopeless.

The People’s National Congress Reform wishes that all of the Guyanese people would take the message of Easter to heart and remain hopeful for the future, even though the present circumstances appear to be unpromising.

The Party wishes all Guyanese a happy, joyous and fulfilling Easter.

NATIONAL UNITY AND NATIONAL RECONCILIATION:

It is generally recognised that, a necessary condition for the future prosperity and economic development of Guyana, requires that there be national unity and national reconciliation. It is for this reason that the People’s National Congress Reform regards these issues as critical for the long term development of the nation. Accordingly, the Party has continuously demonstrated its unwavering commitment for national unity and national reconciliation.

The People’s National Congress Reform, therefore, takes serious issue with those who distort the truth by maliciously suggesting that this Party has never responded to offers which promote national unity and national reconciliation.

At a recent Press Conference, held by senior executives of the PPP, the Stabroek News, of 5th April 2009, reported President Jagdeo as saying:

“… there has been no productive response from the opposition to any initiatives for political co-operation. In this vein, he once again recalled an attempt to start discussions with the PNCR for greater co-operation at the national level. However, he said, “It failed as a result of the PNCR’s Leader, Robert Corbin, pandering to hard-line elements. So, saying this is an opportunity now, is not very honest, because we have made a significant attempt to do so when Janet Jagan was still alive.””

It is very convenient for President Bharrat Jagdeo to forget that, on 6 May 2003, a Communiqué was signed between himself and Mr. Corbin, paragraph 1 of which, among other things, states: “… to find solutions that are in the interest of all of the people of Guyana.”

The Communiqué addressed a raft of critical national issues and, had the required sincere constructive dialogue and the timely implementation of agreed reforms been sustained, Guyana would have been a different place today; not riven by ethnic strife and hobbled by adverse economic circumstances.

It was President Jagdeo’s proclivity not to honour his commitments, on the burning issues, such as the early establishment of an autonomous National Broadcasting Authority and the removal of the state Radio monopoly, that caused the dialogue to flounder. What is clear is that the Jagdeo Administration is not prepared to give up the state monopoly of Radio and the use of the Chronicle and NCN TV as their propaganda mouthpieces, while continuing to use every coercive device, including the withdrawal of Government advertisements, to manipulate the private media.

Indeed, one of the hallmarks of Mr. Jagdeo’s Presidency is his tendency to undermine his own stated and otherwise laudable intentions. For example, at the opening of the Ninth Parliament on September 28, 2006, Bharrat Jagdeo stated: “The underlying pillars of the new political framework will include meaningful engagement with all political parties; reform of the legislative and judicial branches of Government; and continuous engagement of the progressive civil society in the governance of this country.”

It has become evident, to all but the politically blind, that, for the Jagdeo PPP regime, propaganda has become the substitute for sincere and constructive action to further the cause of national development. Therefore, it is not surprising that the rhetoric, of a new political culture and framework, never emerged as reality.

The political parties were never positively engaged, even when it was felt that a photo opportunity would impress the donor community. Despite the views and proposals of the Opposition Parties, President Jagdeo has not seen the value of any meaningful national dialogue, except when national tragedies, such as the Lusignan and Bartica massacres, persuaded him to convene what has been referred to as the National Stakeholders Forum (NSF). Unfortunately, this too remains stillborn. It should be noted that President Jagdeo, as reported in the issue of the Stabroek News, of 5th April 2009, revealed that he perceives the NSF is no more than “an ad hoc mechanism.” It would be a matter for national education, if the President should provide his definition of what he means by “progressive civil society”.

The PNCR is convinced that the utterances and conduct of the President are contrived to prevent the creation of an environment of trust, which he claims to believe can lead to the construction of the requisite framework for meaningful political dialogue on Guyana’s problems. It is a matter of public record that, all too often, President Jagdeo engages in the kind of acerbic public discourse which poisons the political mood and blocks possible channels of communication. A recent example is his outpourings at Babu John. During his so-called address President Jagdeo lambasted the opposition parties and also took a swipe at the media. It is difficult, for any but the politically jaundiced, to conceive how a politician of President Jagdeo’s experience can believe that, by his public pandering to the baser instincts of his constituents, he could create a climate for dialogue and national reconciliation.

The PNCR remains convinced that Guyana will not see real development or prosperity until we, as a nation, treat, as our national priority, the resolution of our ethnically driven problems. This means that there must be meaningful and constructive dialogue and reconciliation, which leads to a new national framework for governance to replace the outdated and anachronistic system by which Guyana is now governed.

If the Parties in Guyana, including the Jagdeo PPP/C Administration, are prepared to take Guyana on such a journey of modernization they would find, in the PNCR, a willing, capable and committed partner.

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana
Wednesday 8 April 2009