THE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE MUST BE INDEPENDENT-- PRESS STATEMENT Thursday 13 August 2009




SUMMARY:
• The Party has been studying a number of proposals submitted by the membership for Congress;
• With the Joint Opposition Parties, the PNCR has agreed to the combination of efforts and resources to conduct an all-round struggle for justice, respect for and observance of the Rule of Law and generally the establishment of good governance practices;
• The PNCR believes that the fight against crime in Guyana, in all of its forms and at all levels, must be undertaken by a re-equipped, well manned and independent Police Force led by an independent Commissioner of Police.

16TH BIENNIAL DELEGATES CONGRESS, 21-22 AUGUST 2009 – UPDATE:

The 16th Biennial Delegates Congress of the People’s National Congress Reform is a mere eight (8) days away. As is to be expected, work has intensified over a wide range of activities. In particular, the Party has been studying the ways and means by which it could: remove contention from the verification of its membership List; strengthen the Delegate and Observer registration process; and ensure that its electoral process is transparent and acceptable to the majority of its members. To this end, the Party has been studying a number of proposals submitted by the membership.

As a result, the Central Executive Committee, at its meeting on the 23 July 2009, approved a document entitled “Verification of Membership List and Accreditation of Delegates and Observers: Procedure to be Followed.” This document was sent to the Secretary and/or Chairman of each Party Group and went into effect from 25 July 2009. The document informed members of the Claims and Objections period which began from 19 July and came to its end on 9 August 2009. This was brought to the attention of all Party Groups countrywide.

In addition, the Central Executive Committee met on Saturday 8 August and agreed the document entitled, “The Registration and Elections Processes for the 16th Biennial Congress, 21-22 August 2009”. This document addressed a number of issues which are intended to strengthen and improve the electoral process used by the Party for this Congress. The PNCR wishes to highlight the following points in the document:




1. Independent Observers
The PNCR would invite a panel of independent and eminent persons, who are friends of the Party, to monitor the various processes used, particularly, for the registration and identification of Delegates and Observers, as well as for the Election of the Party’s Central Executive Committee.

2. An Independent Returning Officer
The Central Executive Committee has agreed that a suitable person, who is considered independent, will undertake the task of the Returning Officer for the elections. The Returning Officer will be free to appoint his/her own assistants to manage the election’s process.

3. The Delegates and Observers Registration Process
The General Secretary, Mr. Oscar Clarke has issued Circular No. 2 of 15 June 2009. In that Circular he notified each Party Group of their Delegate and Observer entitlement and requested that all nominations, including those for Candidates, should be submitted to the Secretariat by Wednesday 15 July 2009.

In his Circular, the General Secretary also requested each region of the Party to notify the Secretariat of “… the names of the designated regional officials who will be in charge of its contingent to Congress.” He advised that, “… the designated regional official would ensure that the region’s delegates and observers are properly identified for registration and also be the point of reference in all matters concerning the welfare of the region’s contingent.”

The named regional official(s) will be asked to be present at the registration desk to identify each of the members, who they have notified the General Secretary should be accredited as a Delegate or Observer for the region.

4. The issuing of Delegates and Observer ID Cards
When the Registration Officer has been satisfied that the Delegate or Observer is properly identified that Delegate or Observer would be issued with an easily distinguishable pre-prepared numbered Delegate or Observer ID Card. The card would show the Name, Group and Region represented by the Delegate or Observer and would be signed by the Convenor of the Accreditation Committee.

5. Roll Call of Delegates before they are seated for the Conduct of Elections
The Convenor of the Accreditation Committee will provide the Returning Officer with the complete list of all Delegates, ordered by the region he/she represents, along with the list of Automatic Delegates.
Since each Delegate will be required to prominently wear his/her ID card, showing his/her Name, Group and Region, in preparation for the Conduct of the Elections, the Returning Officer will be able to conduct a roll call and identification of each delegate, before he/she is seated in seats reserved for the region from which he/she is drawn.

6. The Elections will be in Five (5) Stages
Since it is common for a Candidate to be nominated for, and actually be contesting, more than one position, the Elections will be conducted in five (5) stages with the result for each stage being declared before moving on to the next stage.

Stage I: Election of the Leader
Stage II: Election of the Chairperson
Stage III: Election of the two (2) Vice-Chairpersons
Stage IV: Election of the Treasurer
Stage V: Election of the fifteen (15) other members of the CEC

7. Ballot Boxes
Ballot boxes will be used for the casting of votes.

8. The Counting of Votes
The counting of the votes will be undertaken in full public view.

9. Scrutineers
Each Candidate, if he/she so desires, would be entitled to appoint his/her own scrutineer(s) for the balloting and counting of votes.

JOINT OPPOSITION PARTIES:

The People’s National Congress Reform has joined forces with the other Opposition parties (Alliance for Change (AFC), Guyana Action Party/Rise Organise and Rebuild (GAP/ ROAR), National Front Alliance (NFA), Unity Party (UP) and the Working People’s Alliance (WPA)). In order to make the Jagdeo Administration accountable for the rather unsavory developments which took place in Guyana, between 2002 and 2004, and which have emerged as part of the evidence in the trial of Robert Simels, the lawyer for the self-confessed drug trafficker, Roger Khan.

Among the unflattering details that were revealed during this trial was that the Jagdeo Administration apparently colluded with this drug trafficker causing the deaths of more than two hundred (200) Guyanese. The PNCR has, accordingly, demanded that an international criminal investigation be conducted into these happenings looking into the roles of both individuals and the Government. This can be undertaken by the United Nations or the International Criminal Court.

The PNCR has been conducting a number of picketing exercises, which included the Office of the President, demanding that such an international criminal probe should be undertaken. The Party has also called for the resignation of the Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, who has been identified, by several witnesses in a Court in New York, as the person who purchased the “spy” equipment, which was the source of so much havoc in Guyana. In this connection, the Party has noted that Dr. Ramsammy was a mere agent of the Government and, therefore, the Jagdeo Administration is just as culpable in this matter as he is.

With the Joint Opposition Parties, the PNCR has agreed to the combination of efforts and resources to conduct an all-round struggle for justice, respect for and observance of the Rule of Law and generally the establishment of good governance practices.

The Party will continue to lend support for these efforts and is confident that the combined Opposition can be successful in attracting international attention to this crisis in our affairs and provide the enabling environment in which an international enquiry can take place.

THE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE MUST BE INDEPENDENT:

Over time the PNCR has been concerned that the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Henry Green, has seemed reluctant to launch an investigation into the developments of murder and drug trafficking in Guyana as revealed in the recent trial of Robert Simels for witness tampering. At this point in the game the nonsense that Guyana should wait until the trial is complete is merely a red herring. Roger Khan has pleaded guilty to drug trafficking in Guyana. The Court documents in the United States have identified him as the leader of the “phantom gang” which was responsible for the deaths of more than 200 persons, mostly Afro-Guyanese. This is more than sufficient evidence to trigger a probe in this country.

Unless there is something to hide, such a probe must be undertaken with dispatch or the integrity of the Commissioner of Police himself and some of his senior officers will be on the line.

The Party has noted, again with serious concern, that while the Commissioner of Police is reluctant to launch such a probe into the Roger Khan matter, he was not been hampered by any such reluctance when it came to hunting down persons suspected of being involved in the burning down of the Ministry of Health. We hesitate to say but it seems the only conclusion to be drawn is that the Commissioner of Police, contrary to the provisions of the Police Act, was proceeding as a result of political dictation.

The Party has noted that, at a Press Conference along with the Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Clement Rohee, on 31 July 2009, the Commissioner identified as one of the dangerous elements in the society “people who dislike the Government.” It is statements like these which make the average citizen wonder if the Commissioner of Police is as independent as he ought to be.

The PNCR believes that the fight against crime in Guyana, in all of its forms and at all levels, must be undertaken by a re-equipped, well manned and independent Police Force led by an independent Commissioner of Police.

The introduction of political direction into the day to day running of the GPF and the overall policy decisions of the organisation have led to unfortunate results. Rogue Cops torture our citizens and are given political cover. Investigations which should be unfettered by political considerations are undermined by questions of loyalty to the political directorate. It is time these things came to an end. The alternative is that the Rule of Law will suffer further attrition, crime will spiral out of control and Guyana will be looking into the abyss of lawlessness and anarchy.


People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana
Thursday 13 August 2009