THE PNCR WILL NOT BE DIVERTED FROM ITS PROGRAMME BY THE DEVIOUS PLOT BY MISCHIEVOUS POWER SEEKERS--PRESS STATEMENT Friday January 22, 2010




SUMMARY:
• The devious plot by mischievous power seekers will not divert the PNCR from carrying out its planned programme for 2010 to 2011;
• TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY FOR THE $4b HOUSING MINISTRY ALLOCATION: It is now evident that the Government is providing a subsidy to GuySuCo in a most clandestine manner;
• National Men’s week should begin at the Office of the President;
• PNCR commends the support offered by Guyanese to the Haitian people;
• DISTRIBUTION OF NATIONAL ID CARDS: The PNCR urges all those persons who have still not collected their ID Cards to do so before the end of January 2010.


THE PNCR WILL NOT BE DIVERTED FROM ITS PROGRAMME BY THE DEVIOUS PLOT BY MISCHIEVOUS POWER SEEKERS:

The PNCR has uncovered a devious plot, by a well-financed group of political power seekers, to promote disharmony within its ranks as part of a wider plan to establish an alternative political party in Guyana.

The analysis of the modus operandi of this group suggests that their members have concluded that if their plans are to succeed, they must undermine the capacity of the PNCR as the only viable political force capable of effectively opposing and replacing the PPP. They have recognised that the AFC has failed in their attempt to form a viable third force. Consequently, their plan is to raid all existing political parties of their membership, by nefarious means, and organize these persons to form a new political Party. They have already approached members of some of these parties, including PNCR members, to endorse their plan.

At a recently held meeting of this group, they even reached the ridiculous conclusion that they could approach PNCR-IG Members of Parliament to persuade at least nine of them to defect in the National Assembly, following the examples set previously by Messrs. Raphael Trotman, Khemraj Ramjattan and Sheila Holder. In pursuit of their objectives, this group commenced organized efforts to undermine unity within the PNCR in the hope of creating disenchantment among its members.

Among the recent activities of this group were the financing of a paid full page political Advertisement, in two daily newspapers, purporting to be placed by four (4) PNCR members on behalf of twenty-five others and the launching of a poster campaign with caricatures of the Leader of the PNCR, with the sole intent of damaging his credibility.

The advertisement, placed in the Sunday 10 January 2010 issues of the Stabroek News and Kaieteur News papers, purported to attack the Leader of the Party for, inter alia, ignoring PNCR members in his New Year Message and praising President Jagdeo. This is, indeed, a frivolous aspersion, but all legitimate PNCR members know that the Party Leader had already conveyed Christmas and New Year greetings to Party members at the General Council (the highest decision making forum of the Party after the Biennial Congress), at its meeting, held at Congress Place, Sophia, on Saturday 5 December 2009. The New Year Message was addressed to all Guyanese, including, of course, all PNCR members.

Contrary to the distortions in the Ad, the message of the Leader captured the basic tenets of the PNCR messages, over the past three years, which dealt with: the economic hardships suffered by the working people of Guyana; crime, in all its various forms; erosion of the confidence of the Guyanese people; the draconian 16% Value Added Tax (VAT); the continuing deterioration of the economic situation; the torture of our citizens; disregard for the poor and powerless; increasing and continued executive lawlessness; the growing scourge of illiteracy due to our collapsing education system; the inadequacies and fragility of our medical services; the calculated destruction of the Trades Union movement; the growing disenchantment of our young people with the lack of opportunities and politics of our nation; and, the arbitrariness and dictatorial tendency of the Jagdeo Administration which posed a serious threat to the rule of law in Guyana. He further outlined the various trials and tribulations Guyanese faced in 2009, including: the executive lawlessness; corruption; human rights abuses; torture by the police and GDF; and the hidden hands of the Administration behind the drug trade and the murder of over 200 citizens over the past years. He also pointed to the unjust and arbitrarily imposed paltry 6% increase in wages and salaries as a clear violation of the principles enshrined in the Collective Labour Agreement with the Public Service Unions.

The Leader’s message was clear that the President of Guyana should take the opportunity, of his two remaining years in Office to: make Consultations really meaningful; ensure that Local Government Reform becomes a reality; remove the Government Radio Broadcast monopoly, by submitting National Broadcast Legislation to establish a National Broadcast Authority for early passage by the National Assembly; pass Freedom of Information Legislation; implement the consensually agreed Constitutional Reforms which were all already passed into law by the National Assembly since the third quarter of 2001; and bequeath to future generations, a society where all Guyanese will be fully involved and feel a sense of pride in being Guyanese.

The New Year message set out an agenda for 2010 which, if implemented to achieve the objectives proposed by the PNCR Leader, represent the “opportunity” he hoped we would all grasp. In that regard, the agenda represents some of the major elements of the performance standards that the PNCR, as a responsible Party which is committed to bring about development and progress in Guyana, will be using as its benchmark for providing representation for all of the people of our nation.

The message of the PNCR Leader has been endorsed by the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the Party. Clearly, the Advertisement failed in its objective, but it illustrates the depths of deception which this group is prepared to pursue.

The PNCR delayed our response to the Advertisement and, instead, launched a thorough investigation into its origin. Our investigations revealed the following:

 One of the names listed as placing the Advertisement does not match the name of any member on the Party Membership Register.
 Another name is similar to the names of two members listed in the Party Membership Register, one in Berbice and the other on the East Coast of Demerara. Both persons have stated that they have no knowledge of the Ad. In fact, one of the persons was out of the area at the time the Ad was placed.
 The remaining two names are similar to names of party members listed in the Register for the East Coast of Demerara, but they too have denied any knowledge of the Ad.
 It is beyond the means of these members to have found the G$300,000.00 (three hundred thousand Guyana dollars) to pay for such an Ad. As one member posited, he wished that he had those resources which he could have donated to assist the Party in some of its charitable work during the Christmas holiday season.

The full page Advertisement was, therefore, one of the tools being used for the wicked and mischievous, but unsuccessful, plot to create dissention within the Party by the dissemination of misinformation among PNCR members.

Shortly after the placement of this Ad, a pamphlet campaign was launched, with a caricature of the Leader of the PNCR and two other leading members, designed to attack the integrity of the Leader. This pamphlet was pasted on light posts in various parts of Georgetown and scattered around the country.

The PNCR puts this group on notice that their mischievous and dastardly efforts will not succeed. The CEC of the Party, which recently met and discussed this matter, has determined that such efforts will not divert its attention from implementing its agreed programme for the years 2010 to 2011.

The Party will, therefore, continue with its efforts to form a broad alliance with like minded organizations and individuals who are serious about relieving the people of Guyana from their present misery under the ruling Jagdeo PPP regime.

At the same time, the PNCR will take all measures to ensure that none of its members or MPs fall victim or inadvertently contribute to the objectives of those who do not have the interests of the PNCR at heart and are, instead, actively engaged in acts that are inimical to the interests of the Party and its constituents.

TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY FOR THE $4b HOUSING MINISTRY ALLOCATION:
It is now becoming much clearer why the Government found itself in difficulty in accounting for the G$4.0Bn (four billion Guyana dollars) requested in Supplementary Provision, under the guise of providing housing for Guyanese.

The rookie Minister of Housing and Water, in his arrogance, refused to provide answers to questions in the National Assembly about the intended use of that large allocation. However, it is interesting that the Minister of Agriculture now informs the Nation that some of the $4B allocated to the Ministry of Housing will help to purchase lands from the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) for house lots. According to him, “ the monies will be used by GuySuCo to bring new and unused cane lands on the East Coast of Demerara and in Berbice to cane cultivation”.

GuySuCo, according to the Minister of Agriculture, is “ requiring an urgent $10B to carry out capital works which included bringing new cane lands under cultivation, the Corporation was forced to shelve many of its plans after finding itself in severe financial troubles last year.”

It is now evident that the Government was providing a subsidy to GuySuCo in a most clandestine manner. If this was the intended use for the Supplementary Provision, it is difficult to understand why the Minister had difficulty in providing clear and unambiguous answers to the National Assembly.

The truth, as pointed out by the PNCR in the Parliament, is that the Government has allocated these large resources under the Ministry of Housing so that its utilization will be carried out without any scrutiny, at the expense of transparency and accountability.

The PNCR again calls on the Auditor General to undertake an immediate audit of the financial operations of those Ministries to which sums were unilaterally voted by the PPP in the last Sitting of the National Assembly.

NATIONAL MEN’S WEEK SHOULD BEGIN AT THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT:
The activities of National MEN’s Week should begin by proper examples being set by the Office of the President.

In welcoming Dr. Miles Munroe to Guyana, the PNCR urges him to hold a seminar at the Office of the President with President Jagdeo in attendance. Jagdeo should be advised how a man should treat his spouse and how the President should deal with acts of immorality by members of his staff. This will provide better examples that Guyanese youth could emulate.

The PNCR views this desire by the Government to sponsor such an activity as another attempt to divert the attention of the people of Guyana from the gross atrocities being committed by the regime against men in Guyana. President Jagdeo has refused to address the issue of the hundreds of Guyanese men who were executed by the phantom squad, under the direction of Government functionaries, in collaboration with criminal enterprises. The demand for an international Inquiry has so far fallen on deaf ears and many Guyanese mothers have been unable to bring closure to these sad episodes in their lives. How the activities of MEN’s week will contribute to this, is a matter for speculation, but the PNCR will not be diverted from its quest to have a proper investigation into this disgraceful period of Guyana’s history.

The PNCR will, therefore, lend no credence to this activity and will not participate in this political exercise intended more for political propaganda than genuine reconciliation.

There is no doubt that there are many issues facing Guyana that proper orientation of our men will help to address. If, however, the Jagdeo PPP Administration was serious about addressing these problems then more enlightened and consultative approaches would have been followed.

The PNCR, has not been consulted on the aims and objectives of this sponsored programme. Consequently, the Party will not be a passive bystander to give any legitimacy to the machinations of the political agenda of the PPP.

PNCR COMMENDS THE SUPPORT OFFERED BY GUYANESE TO THE HAITIAN PEOPLE:

The PNCR wishes to commend the Guyanese people for the support given to the Haitian people thus far and takes this opportunity to encourage them to continue to make contributions in cash and kind to bring further relief to the people of Haiti.

“SHOES FOR HAITI”
As part of the PNCR support for our Haitian brothers and sisters, the Party has launched a “Shoes for Haiti” project. We are asking the general public to donate “good shoes” – for both children and adults - which can be immediately worn. Shoes could be sent to Congress Place, between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. and at the PNCR’s Office in Durban Street, between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

The PNCR looks forward to the support of the public as we try to bring relief to the devastated people of Haiti.

Million Dollar Walk-a-Ton:
Under the aegis of the Women’s Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security, the National Congress of Women, the women’s arm of the People’s National Congress Reform, joined with a number of other women’s organisations in organising a “Million Dollar Walk-a-ton”. Under the banner “Mothers of Guyana for Mothers of Haiti”, the Guyanese women hope to raise one million dollars for our sisters in Haiti.

We ask all women who want to participate to assemble at Parliament Buildings at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday 23 January 2010.

DISTRIBUTION OF NATIONAL ID CARDS:
The distribution of National Identification Cards commenced early in November 2009.
Persons who were registered during the House-to-House registration process are eligible to collect their ID Cards. Many of the registered persons have still not collected their ID Cards. Therefore, we urge all those persons who have still not collected their ID Cards to do so before the end of January 2010. ID Cards should be collected from the main GECOM Offices.

Defective ID Cards:
Unfortunately, there are reports of the widespread distribution of defective ID Cards, particularly with photographic images which are not easily recognisable, as well as ID Cards which appear to be defaced, apart from mistakes in the details recorded on the ID Cards. Persons who have collected defective ID Cards should return these to the designated GECOM Offices, in the Region in which they reside, to have them replaced before 1 February 2010.

CLAIMS AND OBJECTIONS:
The Claims and Objections period commenced on the 4th January 2010 and is expected to conclude on 8th February 2010.

The present Claims and Objections period provides the opportunity for persons, resident in the 6 (six) municipalities and 65 (sixty five) Neighbourhood Democratic Councils, who were not registered, during the House-to-House Registration process, and who attain the age of eighteen(18) or above by 28 March 2010, to be registered on or before 1st February 2010.

In addition, persons requiring transfers, as a result of changes in their address, and name changes, as well as providing the opportunity to cleanse the Preliminary Voters List (PVL) by removing the names of persons who ought not to be on the list, e.g. dead persons have until 8th February 2010 to do so.

Delays Created by GECOM:
The field work of the political Opposition during the claims and objections period has been hampered by the administrative failures of GECOM.

For example, in the absence of the early submission of hard copies of the PVL, the PNCR, like the other Opposition Parties, only received the promised electronic copy of the PVL 15 days after the commencement of the Claims and Objections period which began on 4 January 2010. The PNCR required a minimum of two days to produce and distribute copies to all Regions to enable its operatives to effectively participate in the Claims and Objections exercise. The consequence is that the Party is left with only thirteen (13) days to adequately deal with Claims and Objections.

GECOM was unable to appoint an adequate number of Scrutineers to properly scrutinise the Claims and Objections process until approximately ten (10) days after the commencement of the exercise. They apparently did not recognise that the same Scrutineer cannot oversee the work at the centre as well as simultaneously undertake verification in the field. GECOM needs to understand that transparency is important for there to be confidence in their role.

Public Education Programme:
GECOM has finally begun the needed Public Education Programme. Its implementation must, therefore, be intensified to ensure that the electorate is adequately informed of the fundamental changes to the Local Government Electoral system prior to the holding of Local Government Elections.

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana
Friday January 22, 2010