PRESIDENT JAGDEO SHOULD BE IN GUYANA DEALING WITH THE PROBLEMS OF MINERS, FORESTERS, INDIGENOUS CITIZENS AND THE BAUXITE WORKERS--PRESS STATEMENT Friday 29 January 2010




SUMMARY:
• PARTY OUTREACH: Guyanese have expressed grave dissatisfaction at the registration process for local Government elections and the failure of GECOM and the Government to provide relevant information on the implications of the new Electoral System including, the demarcated boundaries of the constituencies in the seventy one local Government areas where elections will be held;
• PNCR PROGRAMME FOR 2010 – 2011: Party members urged to focus on successful implementation;
• The PNCR will continue to expand on its initiative of 1994 and will work to involve these citizens in the local Government electoral Process;
• The PNCR believes that in the interest of progress in Guyana a system of shared Governance should be discussed among all stakeholders and implemented before the 2011 National and Regional Elections;
• President Jagdeo should be in Guyana dealing with the problems of miners and the bauxite workers instead of touring the world at tax-payers expense;
• THE HARRASSMENT OF JANET BULKAN MUST CEASE
• RONALD WADDLE’S ASSASSINATION:The remembrance programme for Ronald Waddle this week-end should remind Guyanese that the struggle to have an International Inquiry about the atrocities carried out by the regime and the violation of the human rights of Guyanese must be intensified;
• REGISTRATION FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS: The PNCR renews its call, to all those persons who have still not registered to do so before the published closing date of February 1, 2010.

PNCR’S OUTREACH ACROSS THE COUNTRY
In a series of outreach meetings being held across the country by the Leadership of the PNCR, Guyanese expressed grave dissatisfaction at the registration process for local Government elections and the failure of GECOM and the Government to provide relevant information on the implications of the new Electoral System, including the demarcated boundaries of the constituencies in the seventy one local Government areas where elections will be held. The poor production of National Identification Cards was also a matter of concern as many persons discovered that most of the photographs bore no resemblance to them and could hardly be used as a means of identification. It is a serious indictment on GECOM that such unsatisfactory ID Cards were produced after the utilization of scarce taxpayers’ money. GECOM must inform the Public on the manner in which they propose to correct this deficiency. It cannot be acceptable that such a situation could be left unattended; the PNCR therefore calls upon GECOM to provide answers to these questions.

Under the new reformed Local Government system, each of the seventy-one Local Government areas has been divided into constituencies to facilitate the election of half of the number of Councilors, for each Council, who will be elected to represent the citizens there. It is, therefore, disturbing that GECOM could be planning to hold those elections when the citizens have not been informed of these constituencies. The PNCR puts the Government and GECOM on notice that they will not be railroaded to participate in a process that is flawed and that could deprive citizens of their Constitutional right to be involved in matters affecting their welfare.


PNCR PROGRAMME FOR 2010 – 2011:

Over the past week, the Leader of the PNCR accompanied by Party Executives held meetings at Eversham, Corentyne, New Amsterdam, Berbice, Belladrum, West Coast Berbice, Paradise, East Coast Demerara, Georgetown, Den Amstel, West Coast Demerara, Mocha, East Bank and Linden. Party members and citizens were updated on the programmes of the PNCR for the period 2010 to 2011 and the Leadership was able to benefit from the many contributions made at those meetings. These meetings will continue over the next few days at Bartica, Essequibo Coast and the North West District.
Among the activities of the PNCR for 2010, outlined at the outreach meetings with members are:
• Effective preparation and campaigning for Local Government Elections;
• Standardising our Internal Party Election Procedures and the successful and timely holding of Regional, District and Group Elections;
• Conflict resolution initiatives and the establishment of conflict resolution procedures at all levels of the Party;
• Regular and scheduled visits by executive members to groups and to organized party activities throughout the country;
• Scheduled weekly outreach visits by executive members and PNCR Members of Parliament to various communities to discuss with citizens their problems and to ensure follow-up representation after those visits;
• Scheduled meetings with members of the Public at Party Offices throughout the country on specified days that would be publicized;
• Ensuring that effective programmes are planned and implemented by the Committees and/ or the areas to which MPs have been assigned responsibilities;
• Concentrated efforts at revitalizing our Youth Arm, the GYSM, and promoting special Youth Empowerment Programmes;
• Expanding and giving continuous support to our Literacy programmes;
• Ensuring the success of all our fund–raising activities; and,
• Early determination of the Party’s strategy and preparation for the 2011 National and Regional Elections.

Members of the Party were urged to focus on these activities and seize all opportunities for their successful implementation, rather than being distracted by the work of the power hungry cabal, whose activities are clearly organized to benefit the PPP.

PNCR APPROACH TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND NATIONAL ELECTIONS

During these meetings, the PNCR Leader explained the approach of the PNCR to the forthcoming Local Government and National Elections. Guyanese would recall that, at the last Local Government Elections held in 1994, the PNCR only contested Elections in the six Towns as a Party and encouraged, as well as supported, Community Groups to participate. This approach encouraged participation in community affairs by citizens who were not necessarily involved in any political party but who were concerned with the development of their community. Regrettably, the domineering and dictatorial approach by the Minister of Local Government frustrated many of these groups from implementing plans that they had developed for the benefit of the residents there. The prolonged delay in the holding of Local Government Elections also contributed to many of these Councils becoming dysfunctional. It is hoped that the reformed Local Government System will motivate citizens, give meaning to a decentralized system of decision-making, and give meaning to Article 13 of the Guyana Constitution.

The PNCR will continue to expand on its initiative of 1994 and will work to involve these citizens in the local Government electoral Process. Consequently, the Party has already begun consulting citizens who are not necessarily party members to be involved in the forthcoming Elections. While the Party will be identifying lists of Candidates to contest, it will also support individuals and groups where appropriate in areas where it is satisfied that those interested persons have the welfare of the citizens at heart. This will be in keeping with the Party’s embrace of shared Governance, which can begin at the Community level. The same approach will be adopted with the proposed Elections of 2011.


SHARED GOVERNANCE BEFORE 2011

The PNCR believes that in the interest of progress in Guyana a system of shared Governance should be discussed among all stakeholders and implemented before the 2011 National and Regional Elections. This system is not, as some misguided persons have been advocating, an arrangement to determine the President and Prime Minister. In any event, there can be no discussion of changing the Constitution to extend Presidential term limits. Let me repeat for emphasis, there will be no discussion of changing the Constitution to give Mr. Jagdeo or anyone else extended Presidential term limits. Rather, this system should ensure constitutional changes that would eliminate the dictatorial tendencies that have resulted from the Westminster Winner-take-all system and that have stultified development in Guyana. The PNCR will therefore be engaged in a series of consultations with all stakeholders, including the PPP, with a view to ensuring that this matter is given priority attention.

PRESIDENT JAGDEO SHOULD BE IN GUYANA DEALING WITH THE PROBLEMS OF MINERS, FORESTERS, INDIGENOUS CITIZENS AND THE BAUXITE WORKERS

At this time when the welfare and livelihood of miners, foresters and the Amerindians are threatened by the dictatorial behaviour of the regime, President Jagdeo should be at home seeking to resolve these disturbing issues instead of spending millions of taxpayer’s dollars touring the globe. Since the public disclosure of the Government’s Low Carbon Development Strategy, the PNCR had exposed the lack of consultation, particularly with affected stakeholders, including the mining sector. The consultations amounted to merely presentation exercises designed to deceive the world that the strategy proposed by the Jagdeo Administration had the support of all. The miners and foresters are still in a quandary to determine how they will continue to exist and carry on their livelihood with the new proposed measures. There has been no meaningful consultation with them and the miners, like all Guyanese, have a constitutional right to represent their interest in any manner found convenient to them within the Law. The PNCR therefore supports the miners and foresters of Guyana who have found it necessary to pursue their interests. It is hoped that the Jagdeo regime understands that there can be no business as usual when the rights of Guyanese citizens are being trampled upon.

Similarly, instead of wasting money to travel to Russia and elsewhere, Jagdeo should be dealing with the assault by RUSAL on the workers of that Company at Kwakwani. This issue has been festering for several months whilst RUSAL continues its union busting and anti-workers manoeuvres without any intervention by the Minister of Labour. To date the Minister of Labour has failed to respond to the letter sent by the Leader of the Opposition calling on him to carry out his legal duty to intervene and ensure a proper resolution of the issues affecting the workers. Guyana cannot afford to condone this lawless behaviour of the Russian Company that has used these tactics elsewhere. It is known that the Republic of Guinea had to expel the Industrial Relation Manager of this Company there for their anti workers behaviour. Why then would Guyana with this knowledge condone such lawless and unacceptable behaviour here? The PNCR will not allow this matter to rest while Guyanese workers are suffering and will continue to pursue this matter resolutely.
Also, it is time for the Office of the President to disclose how much taxpayer’s money President Jagdeo has spent in his numerous tours around the Globe and the benefits, which Guyana has derived from this expenditure.

THE HARRASSMENT OF JANET BULKAN MUST CEASE

The Constitution of Guyana provides every citizen the right to comment on the affairs of their country. The response of the Government to objective remarks made by Guyanese citizens is typical of the behaviour of the Jagdeo regime over the past years. The PPP, instead of encouraging such participation, seems determined to deny citizens their right to freedom of speech and expression as guaranteed by the Constitution of Guyana. This practice is not new. Chris Correia, Yesu Persaud and many others were singled out for this despicable treatment when they exercised their constitutional right to express themselves on issues affecting Guyana. Guyanese cannot allow this regime to continue to behave in this manner. The organised campaign against Janet Bulkan must not be condoned and must be rejected by all Guyanese.

THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE ASSASINATION OF RONALD WADDLE SHOULD REMIND GUYANESE THAT AN INTERNATIONAL INQUIRY IS STILL NEEDED.

Over the past weeks, Guyanese at Bartica and Lusignan commemorated the sad episodes of the massacres. Another year has passed with no serious action by the PPP regime to deal with a proper inquiry into these matters. On January 31, Guyanese will again commemorate another anniversary of the assassination of Ronald Waddle. The memory of this state condoned execution is still with many and his children and family cannot bring closure to this sad episode. The exposure in a New York Court during the trial of Roger Khan ought to have provided the impetus for the Guyana Police Force to accelerate their criminal investigation. Following the publication of the dossier by the Joint Opposition Parties on the atrocities committed by the regime including, the murder of over two hundred Guyanese, the Police announced the commencement of an investigation. Nothing has been heard since then. The call for an international Inquiry has so far been ignored. Guyanese should not be deterred, however, from continuing to pursue these matters. The remembrance programme for Ronald Waddle this weekend while celebrating the life and work of this fallen public figure, should remind Guyanese that the struggle to have an International Inquiry into this atrocity carried out by the regime and the violation of the human rights of Guyanese, must be intensified.

UPDATE ON REGISTRATION

The Claims and Objections Exercise being conducted by GECOM to register eligible Guyanese on the Voters List will end on February 8, 2010. The Claims period will end on February 1, 2010 while the Objections period will end on February 8, 2010. Any objective assessment will show that there are thousands of Guyanese who have still not been able to register because of the difficulty in obtaining their source documents such as birth certificates. The General Registrar’s Office is ill equipped to expedite this process and it is time for GECOM to make practical decisions and recommendations to overcome this serious obstacle.

At the end of the last Registration exercise GECOM was in possession of the names of more than thirty-three thousand persons who wanted to register but were denied because of difficulty in obtaining source documents. The Claims period should have facilitated those persons. Regrettably, as of last Saturday January, 23, 2010 only around ten thousand of those persons were able to complete their registration. In addition, there are several others who have been unable to register. The PNCR has been making representation since the commencement of the House-to-House Registration and on numerous occasions for a special speedy exercise to be mounted in order to facilitate persons who have “source document” problems. To date there has been no constructive response to this grave problem. It is time, therefore, for GECOM to provide coherent answers to these problems since failure to do so will in effect be depriving citizens of their Constitutional right. The PNCR will again be discussing this matter with GECOM over the next few days with a view of determining effective solutions.

The PNCR renews its call, however, to all those persons who have still not registered to do so before the published closing date of February 1, 2010. There are only four (4) days remaining for the Claims period. Guyanese are urged to register now.

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana
Friday January 29, 2010