WILL THE JAGDEO ADMINISTRATION KEEP ITS WORD ON CLICO?-- PRESS STATEMENT Friday 29 May 2009




SUMMARY:
• The Party extends heartfelt condolences to the members of Lady Guymine’s sorrowing family;
• The PNCR has never barred any reporter or media organizations from its Press Conferences;
• The PNCR believes that firm action should be taken against those individuals and organisations which are accountable and responsible for this loss of budgetary support to the national treasury;
• The PNCR wishes to go on record that it is totally unaware of any PRSP being submitted to the National Assembly for its consideration;
• What would happen to those Guyanese who have invested in pensions and insurance policies in CLICO?
• The PNCR would continue to protest the violation of the human rights of our citizens for as long as it is necessary and possible.

PNCR MOURNS DEATH OF LADY GUYMINE

The People’s National Congress Reform mourns the passing of one of our outstanding citizens and cultural ambassador, Ms. Monica Chopperfield, better known as Lady Guymine.

Death has brought to a close an outstanding musical career that began in Guyana and took her further afield to the Caribbean and North America. In her career path, Lady Guymine rubbed shoulders with some of the leading musical figures of the day, especially the great West Indian Calypsonians, the Mighty Sparrow, Lord Nelson and others. Her talent was a match for theirs.

But Lady Guymine was not confined to any single musical genre. In her early career she was known as a ballad singer and, along with one of her contemporaries, Annie Haynes, became one of the early purveyors of innovative jazz and swing vocals.

It was only in 1966, when she participated in the Mashramani celebrations as Lady Guybau, that she entered the world of calypso. Noticed by the legendary calypsonian, the Mighty Sparrow, she was invited to tour Trinidad and remained in his tent for two years. As a calypsonian she entertained Guyanese, West Indians and the Diaspora. “Granny Fit” was one of the most loved renditions. She was ranked fourth in the 1985 World Calypso Competition.

Guyana should be grateful to Lady Guymine for, as a citizen of this Republic, she not only extracted what was best from the world of music but she also brought those unique qualities of a Guyanese to different parts of the world and won the respect of many who crossed her path.

The Party extends heartfelt condolences to the members of her sorrowing family.

May her soul rest in peace!

NCN MAKES STRANGE REQUESTS

Over the last week, the National Communications Network (NCN) has made persistent requests, to the People’s National Congress Reform, for videos of its Press Conferences and some of its Press Statements. Indeed, on one occasion one of its operatives turned up at Congress Place to obtain footage of the Party’s Press Conferences and related Press Statements.

The Party finds this development quite surprising, since NCN has always been free to attend and participate in our Press Conferences. In fact they have done so over time. Consequently, if NCN was present at those Press Conferences, there would have been no need for them to make this approach to the PNCR.

NCN needs to be reminded that the PNCR has never barred any reporter or media organizations from its Press Conferences, as did President Jagdeo when he prevented the Capital News reporter, Gordon Moseley, from covering Press Conferences at State House and the Office of the President.

The Party hopes that this new found interest in our Press Conferences represents a change of attitude on the part of NCN. The PNCR, therefore, looks forward to its Press Conferences being finally given fair and unbiased coverage on the state owned and operated television station, NCN Channel 11.

PNCR ALARMED AT LOSS OF EU FUNDS

The PNCR, like other Opposition political parties and national stakeholders, are quite justified in criticizing the Jagdeo Administration for losing, because of inefficiency and incompetence, more than G$6 Billion in funding from the European Union (EU), which was intended for improving the sugar sector and the diversification of the economy.

It has been reported that the funds were lost because, among other lapses, the sugar action plan was submitted three months beyond the required deadline. No amount of propaganda spin, however skilled, can conceal this disaster.

The loss of this substantial amount of money is almost criminal, in view of the reality of the precarious financial situation facing the country. Therefore, there is urgent need for the diversification of the economy to generate economic growth and the creation of jobs and incomes.

The PNCR believes that firm action should be taken against those individuals and organisations which are accountable and responsible for this loss of budgetary support to the national treasury. The Jagdeo Administration should sanction those who are responsible and also to say how such monies would be replaced. Silence and evasion on this matter is not acceptable. It is too important an issue to be swept under the carpet. Ultimately, the spectacle of a sovereign Government being unable to submit documentation, in a timely fashion, in order to access funding from a major institution such as the EU is not only alarming but suggest that the Government itself has become dysfunctional.

But the loss of the EU funding also points to the culture of mismanagement and incompetence, like that of corruption, has become endemic in the Jagdeo Administration. Perhaps, it is an indication of the reality of micro-management and one man rule patently subverting the national interest. The Jagdeo Administration is advised to return to the practice where the normal functions of Government are performed by the responsible institutions of the State which are allowed to deal with these matters without the unnecessary and disruptive intrusion of the Head of State. The PNCR hopes that this lesson has been learnt.

In the meantime, the Party must signal its alarm at the fact that the funding for the Security Sector Reform Programme (SSRP), by the British Government, seems to be threatened by disagreements and differences between the Jagdeo Administration and the British Government. The Party hopes that the recommendation by Dr. Luncheon that the Government withdraws from the SSRP, as reported in the press, is rejected. The differences with the British Government can be composed. Cool heads and logical minds can do this. This is the course of action the PNCR would recommend.

Once the disagreements and differences are ironed out, the Jagdeo Administration must move with energy to secure the funding for the SSRP and ensure its smooth implementation. The SSRP is important for the reform and strengthening of the security sector. A strong security sector is a vital requirement in the fight against crime. A secure environment will ensure protection for our citizens and Help in the creation of an environment which can attract legitimate investors.

MYSTERIOUS POVERTY REDUCTION STRATEGY PAPER (PRSP):

The incompetence of the Jagdeo Administration knows no bounds. It seems that its inability to deliver a finalized Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) to the European Union (EU) is likely to cause this nation another 12 million Euros. The EU had identified 40 million Euros as Budget support but it seems that 12 million of this sum has not been disbursed as the European Commission is awaiting the final document from the Government of Guyana.

As usual, the Jagdeo Administration has given one of its twisted and least credible explanations for its incompetence. Dr. Roger Luncheon, who is now clearly swamped by too many responsibilities, has claimed that the PRSP has been approved by the Cabinet but parliamentary consideration has not been concluded.

The PNCR wishes to go on record that it is totally unaware of any PRSP being submitted to the National Assembly for its consideration. This must be a figment of Dr. Luncheon’s imagination.

This development is yet another example of the incompetence and confusion which is characterising the Jagdeo Administration. It seems that after 12 years in power, it has outlived its usefulness. It has become a present danger to the Guyanese people.


WILL THE JAGDEO ADMINISTRATION KEEP ITS WORD ON CLICO?

When the CLICO fiasco hit home, President Jagdeo was quick to assure Guyanese that their pensions and policies with that insurance company would be safe. At that time, most intelligent people understood the President to mean that he would use the power of the treasury to ensure this result. In fact, President Jagdeo has been quoted as committing himself to this course of action.

Recent developments would suggest that the Jagdeo Administration has embarked on a long drawn out process to ensure that the treasury is not responsible for ensuring the pensions and policies held by our citizens are safe. According to reports, President Jagdeo said that he had secured US$15M from the Caricom Petroleum Fund to meet some of the liabilities of CLICO. An account had been established, at the Bank of Guyana, but no funds have yet been placed in it. It is the belief of the PNCR that funds for this account will be long in coming.

What the Jagdeo Administration is clearly doing is trying to liquidate the liabilities of CLICO without using tax payer’s funds. But this would be a very lengthy process. The following questions are pertinent:

• What would happen to those Guyanese who have invested in pensions and insurance policies in CLICO?
• How long must they wait to recoup their investments?
• Is the tactic, of the Administration, intended to drag out the CLICO liquidation to the point where it is no longer a hot button issue?
• Would President Jagdeo break his promise as he did when he assured small depositors of Globe Trust that they would not lose their savings?

Whatever the answers are, the outlook for CLICO policy holders and pensioners at the present time does not look too bright.

THE VIOLATION OF THE RIGHTS OF OUR CITIZENS CONTINUES:

The Jagdeo Administration seems content with the reputation of violating the rights of our citizens and then taking an inordinate length of time in investigating these infractions. The Administration seems to be comfortable with the reputation for torture, “roughing up” and violations of the Constitution.

The PNCR would continue to protest the violation of the human rights of our citizens for as long as it is necessary and possible.

Some time ago, the Party called on the Jagdeo Administration to investigate the allegations of torture of Ryan Gordon and Mitchell Thomas by the Joint Services. There were promises, by both the Minister of Home Affairs and the Commissioner of Police that they would launch an investigation. It is a matter of grave disappointment that no such investigation has been undertaken.

It is an old saying, which is nevertheless true, that justice delayed is justice denied. On this occasion, justice is definitely being denied.

The Party referred to the issue of the terrible treatment of the John family at Agricola and called for an investigation into this matter. Instead of an investigation, and to the consternation of the entire nation, members of the John family were charged with disorderly behaviour. This is Kafkaesque in its absurdity.

Just as the Party has predicted the culture of violence against prisoners or those arrested seems to have taken hold, in some sections of the security forces. The report coming out of Linden, on 23rd May 2009, that the Joint Services had badly beaten two men at Nottinghamshire, Linden, is further proof that sections of the Joint Services believe that they can take the law into their own hands and torture our citizens.

The Party repeats what we have said, on so many other occasions, that these developments represent an erosion of the rule of law, the further violation of human rights, and an out-of-control section of the Joint Services. It is time that this is brought to an end and members of the Joint Services understand that their role is not to violate the rights of our citizens but to uphold the law.

The PNCR wishes to remind the Jagdeo Administration that it is responsible for the consequences of these developments under the well known international treaties and, in particular, the UN Convention Against Torture (CAT) which specifically states at Article 2(2): “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internally political instability or any public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”

The PNCR would not allow the Jagdeo Administration and the rest of this nation to forget that members of the police force had brutally tortured David Zammett to the point that he could hardly enter the court for the beginning of his trial. An investigation was promised. It never took place.

When would all of these promised investigations be undertaken?

The Jagdeo Administration must be reminded that history has a long arm and a long memory. Therefore, even after the persons who condone these atrocities or the perpetrators are long out of office, the People have the ability, like has happened in other countries, such as Chile, to bring them to the altar of justice.

Moon ah run till day catch um!


People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana
Friday 29 May 2009