16TH BIENNIAL DELEGATES CONGRESS, 21-22 AUGUST 2009--PRESS STATEMENT Friday 7 August 2009




The 16th Biennial Delegates Congress of the People’s National Congress Reform will be held from 21-22 August 2009. Delegates from every region and overseas are expected to attend. The Biennial Congress, which is the highest decision making forum of the Party, will be dealing with a number of critical national, regional and international issues. In particular, the Congress will focus on the forthcoming Local Government Elections and its theme therefore will be “People’s Victory Through Local Democracy.” It is expected that the Congress will vigorously debate the issues placed before it and decide on the future direction of the Party. It is also certain that the recent exposure of the Jagdeo regime’s involvement with confessed drug trafficker Roger Khan, state sponsored murders and the recent revelations of witnesses before a New York Court will attract serious discussion and decision making at the Congress.

The forthcoming Congress has been the subject of extensive media coverage and speculation. The pre-congress activities have also energised the membership of the Party and, from all indications there will be maximum participation of eligible delegates and observers. The Party, therefore, has been making strenuous efforts to ensure that it is organisationally and otherwise a successful one. Accordingly, a Congress Committee, established by the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the Party and several Sub-Committees a few months ago have been charged with the management of the Congress. A member of the CEC heads each Sub-Committee.

The following are the Sub-Committees established and the names of their Conveners:

1. Mr. Oscar Clarke – Administration
2. Mr. Alan Munroe - Opening Session and Cultural Presentation
3. Mr. Basil Williams – Questions and Motions
4. Ms. Cheryl Sampson – Public Relations
5. Mr. E. Lance Carberry – Accreditation
6. Ms. Amna Ally – Meals, Accommodation and Transportation
7. Ms. Volda Lawrence – Physical Arrangements and Decorations
8. Mr. Clarence Charles - Finance



ADMINISTRATION
This Sub-Committee has overall responsibility for the activities of the Congress. Chaired by the General Secretary, Mr. Oscar Clarke, its work is well advanced and all of the administrative arrangements relative to the Congress are well in hand.

Participation
More than eighteen hundred delegates and observers from two hundred and seventeen, (217) Party groups, nine (9) overseas groups and twenty-seven (27) GYSM groups are expected to participate in the event. There will also be special invitees.


OPENING SESSION AND CULTURAL PRESENTATION
Suitable participants have already been identified for the cultural programme and the relevant Sub-Committee is now seeking to ensure the appropriateness of their contribution to this event. Included on the cultural programme is “the theme song for Congress”, which has been composed by Party stalwart, Mr. Malcolm Corrica, AKA, “The Mighty Canary”. He will also lead the Congress in singing this theme song composed around the theme for Congress, “People’s Victory Through Local Democracy.” The Yoruba Singers will back Lord Canary and provide other items for the cultural presentation. A souvenir programme for the event is being finalised and Ushers are going through their paces to ensure the right protocol for the occasion.

The main item of the Opening Session will be the Congress Address by the Leader of the PNCR, Mr. Robert H.O. Corbin. Overseas delegates, special invitees and members of the Diplomatic Corps are expected to be at the session.

QUESTIONS AND MOTIONS
Party groups throughout the ten (10) Regions of the country have submitted many questions and motions for discussion and consideration. These indicate that the members of the Party are concerned about a variety of issues. For example, the residents on the Essequibo Coast have asked the question as to why the streets in the Queenstown village are repaired with sand and loam, but the streets in nearby villages that support the ruling party are properly asphalted. In addition, several deal with the issue of discipline and Unity in the Party. Others are focused on the reform of the Party’s Secretariat and amendments to the Party’s Constitution.


PUBLIC RELATIONS
The Public Relations Sub-Committee has the responsibility, among other things, for ensuring that the Congress and the results from the Congress are given the widest publicity. It is also mandated to prepare the report on the Congress.

ACCREDITATION

The Accreditation Committee:
The Terms of Reference for this Committee begins with the verification of Party Members and Groups through to the provision of ID Cards for all categories of Congress Participants and the provision of a complete List of Delegates to the Returning Officer who would be responsible for the conduct of the Congress Elections for members of the Central Executive of the Party.

With regard to the verification of Party membership, a List of Financial Members, as of 31 May 2009, was circulated by the General Secretary. These Lists were to be on display, from 19 July through to 9 August 2009, at the Meeting Places of the Group, so that they could be inspected by members who could raise any queries or objections with the Party Group Officers. All such queries and objections should have been sent to the Party Secretariat and to the Accreditation Committee for investigation and appropriate action as required.

In addition, the List of Members for each Party Group has been made available for inspection, by members of the Central Executive Committee of the Party, Regional Party Officers and persons who have been nominated as Candidates for the forthcoming Elections, at the Congress at Congress Place.

All Party Groups have submitted their list of delegates for Congress based on their qualified membership. They have also supplied their list of Observers. This information was with the Secretariat since 19 July 2009 and has been made available to the Groups for verification, as earlier stated, until 9 August 2009. Thereafter, the list will be finalised by the Accreditation Committee.

The List of all persons who have been nominated as candidates, for the Elections at the 16th Biennial Congress, has also been posted at all Party Regional Offices and at Congress Place from 27 July 2009.

The above measures were instituted to remove the basis of previous claims of weaknesses in the system and to ensure greater transparency in the Party processes. Similar procedures are being implemented for the Election process, which will include the involvement of invited observers. Details of these matters will soon be made public.

Regrettably, despite the new measures implemented the Party has already received complaints and is in the process of investigating complaints made by members of the abuse of information obtained through its new transparent processes. These reports are serious and raised issues of confidentiality, which can otherwise jeopardize the interest and welfare of some of our members. Consequently, certain additional measures are being put in place to guarantee our members safety and welfare.

Nominations for Party Office
Nominations have already been submitted for the various posts to be filled by elections at the Congress. These posts are Leader, Chairman, two Vice-Chairpersons, Treasurer and fifteen members of the Central Executive Committee.

The following are the details of the nominations:

1. Party Leader – Six (6) persons nominated
2. Chairman – Sixteen (16) persons nominated
3. Vice-Chairman – Twenty eight (28) persons nominated (1 ineligible)
4. Treasurer – Twenty three (23) persons nominated (2 ineligible)
5. CEC Members – One hundred and thirty three (133) persons
nominated (15 ineligible)

The eligible nominees have been written to and requested to indicate their acceptance of the nomination to determine the actual number who would be contesting the various positions. Responses are expected to be with the Secretariat by 10 August 2009. When this process is completed, the Party will then be in a position to indicate the final list of candidates for the various offices.

MEALS, ACCOMMODATION AND TRANSPORTATION
The work of the Sub-Committee in this area has been well advanced and it is expected that there will be adequate provision for meals, refreshments, accommodation and transportation for participants to the Party’s Congress. The Regions are generally responsible for making and/or co-coordinating transport arrangements for their participants to the Congress. The Party will, however, be supporting those regions, particularly the hinterland regions, which are not in a position to do so.

PHYSICAL ARRANGEMENTS AND DECORATIONS
The title of this Sub-Committee speaks for itself. The Convener of this Sub-Committee, Ms. Volda Lawrence, along with the other members are well on their way to completing the necessary physical arrangements and decorations for the Congress.

FINANCE
The financial burden of a Biennial Congress has always been heavy. The Party has managed over the years to finance its Congresses through contributions from its members and supporters. This Congress is no different. Individual targets have been given to groups, individuals and Officers of the Party and some have already commenced their contributions. There is no doubt, however, that the global economic crisis and the poor performance of the Guyana economy will negatively affect the garnering of finance for the Congress. The Party, however, remains hopeful that its supporters and well-wishers will assist in ensuring the success of the event.

CONCLUSION
The disturbing developments in Guyana are bound to generate further interest and participation in the Biennial Congress. It is obvious that Guyanese have become increasingly concerned over the unsavory fact that the state of Guyana under the supervision of the Jagdeo Administration collaborated with a drug dealer and directed the execution of more than two hundred (200) of our citizens without trial. The Party’s membership is also deeply concerned over the deteriorating security situation, the decline in the economy and the trampling on the rights of our citizens by the security forces. There are also regional concerns over the need for CARICOM to strengthen itself. Global issues, such as climate change, the financial and economic crisis and the emerging economic powers such as India, China and Brazil will also occupy the attention of our membership at the Congress.


People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana
Friday 7 August 2009