PRESS STATEMENT By the People’s National Congress Reform At the Press Conference on Thursday 2002 October 3 In the Hall of Heroes, Congress Place, Sophia.


All Guyanese are concerned that the Government, whose primary responsibility is to maintain law and order, peace and security for all of the people, seem incapable and unwilling to deal effectively and decisively with the national crisis created by the escalating crime and security situation. This has created a national atmosphere and general environment of fear and uncertainty for all.

The PNCR has consistently and publicly pointed out, including to the evidently confused President and his incompetent regime, that:

The current situation is so serious and so threatening to the existence of the state that it requires a national, non-partisan, consensual response at the highest level.

The Government’s first response is to engage in the farcical National Consultation on Crime to ask the public what they think of what the Government is doing about crime. Not surprising, the public response has been, Why are you wasting our time and money when the answer is staring you in the face daily?

The regime’s second response, still believing that it could fool the people, is to recall the National Assembly from its recess to pass four bills which they have deliberately and misleadingly dubbed anti-crime bills. We all know that these bills will have no impact on the current crime and security situation. The Government is so insensitive and bent on trying to fool the Guyanese people that it could not reason that if, as it claims, these are anti-crime bills, why not ask the opinion of the public in their own orchestrated and so-called public consultations? The Government itself has shown that it has no confidence in its own consultations by refusing to await the recommendations of the public regarding the set of measures which is needed to combat the current crime and security situation.

It is nothing short of an insult to the intelligence of the People and a dereliction of his responsibility for the governance of Guyana for the President to proffer, as his solution for the current crisis, the simplistic solution of more guns, helicopters, etc. Is that an indication of the depth of analysis which the President is capable of? Or is he trying to con the nation?

The Government has successfully created the equivalent of the Hydra of Greek Mythology by its own disrespect and disregard for the Laws of Guyana; its open and now endemic corruption at all levels – one only has to read the annual reports of the Auditor General to appreciate the depth of Governmental corruption; the rapid growth of money-laundering and other white collar crimes; its undermining, political manipulation and misuse of the Police and security forces; its encouragement and protection of the drug barons and the growing gangsterism; and the growth of absolute poverty as a result of its failure to manage the economy.

Yes Mr Jagdeo, you have created a many-headed and complex crime and security monster which now threatens to devour you along with the rest of us! The crime and security crisis has passed the stage for your simplistic utterances!

The PNCR called, more than two years ago, for:

A thorough and effective enquiry into the operations of the Guyana Police Force which would take evidence and views from all competent persons, including the Force itself, and make recommendations for its strengthening and modernisation.

Instead, the Freedom House managers of the Government continued their destructive policy of starving the Police and Security forces of vitally needed resources using the racist motivated argument of “lack of balance” in the Force. In order to deepen their political manipulation and misuse of the Force they appointed the over aged Mr Mc Donald to act as Commissioner. The long suffering citizens, who have a right to expect security and protection from the constitutionally mandated authority, the GPF, have had to put up with the acting Mr Mc Donald while the incompetent and corrupt Mr Gajraj continues to usurp the powers and functions of the Commissioner of Police.

It is evident, to even a school-aged child, that the GPF now lacks the capacity, capability and will to combat the crime and security situation. The criminal associates and cronies of the regime are now fully in the driving seat!

The PNCR called for the:

Disbanding or the Black Clothes/ TSS and its replacement by a specially trained, professional and competent unit. Those in the Squad who are guilty of crimes must be disciplined or prosecuted.

Even the damning revelations from the Thomas Carroll trial in Chicago have not persuaded Mr Jagdeo to put the national and public interest before narrow party and personal interests. The renegade Black Clothes squad continues unfettered to engage in extra-judicial killings and to act as enforcers and triggermen for the drug barons and anyone who could afford to pay Freedom House.

We are all aware of the paltry pay and other unsatisfactory conditions of service of our Policemen, yet the regime has refused to take any notice of the call of the PNCR:

To include the conditions of service, including pay, recruitment, promotion and training within the ambit of the Inquiry.

How else will the GPF be able to attract and retain a suitable calibre of recruit for the strengthening and modernisation of the Force?

The PNCR has urged the Police:

To take urgent and necessary steps to restore public confidence which is essential to their successful operation.

Added to the excesses of the Black Clothes, the continued bullying, harassment and brutalisation of members of the public by some corrupt elements of the Police cannot help them to achieve this!

The lack of confidence and even hostility to the Force has reached such depths that even the offer of a G$10Mn reward for information on the five Mash Day prison Escapees has had no takers.

When will the Jagdeo Regime recognise its own inadequacies and incompetence?
Are they too preoccupied with the pursuit of corrupt practices to care about the national crime and security crisis?

Moon ah run til day catch um!

While the Health Services is bankrupt and in decay, the Minister of Health and other senior officials at the GPHC are still engaging in acts of complicity and corruption.

For example we are in possession of a handwritten note by the Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, in which he writes to Mr. Michael Khan, CEO of GPHC, on August 7, 2001 asking him to pay over to him from the coffers of the Georgetown Hospital, a sum of $120,000 as part of his allowances.

It was only after we started to expose the irregularities in August 2002 that he refunded the money to the GPHC. This is totally irregular and a misappropriation of public funds- a misuse of taxpayers’ money. Dr. Ramsammy is paid by the Parliament and any advance on his salary should be made by the Parliament and not by any other office.

We have noted too that Dr. Ramsammy has in his employ for over a year, a driver who is paid by GPHC. Again, this is an act of impropriety. This driver, Mr. Rajendranauth Singh, was employed by GPHC on May 01, 2001 and seconded to the Minister of Health on that same day. GPHC has paid his salary from his day of employment to date while Dr. Ramsammy has been collecting a chauffeur allowance for the entire period from Parliament for this driver. In our possession are the letters of appointment and secondment by Mr. Michael Khan and a request for a year’s extension for the driver from the Minister of Health.

The Minister in a letter, which he copied to the Chairman of the Board, Mrs. Doreen DeCaires, on 4 August 2002, stated that he was quite satisfied with the answers offered by Mr. Michael Khan pertaining to charges that he conducted corrupt acts at the GPHC. Acts that included the sale of personal property without receipts to the GPHC, use of a government motor vehicle while receiving an allowance and irregular practices related to Tender Board procedures. Clearly, it is not in the discretion of the Minister to discard such charges in such a cavalier manner and is proof of his collusion with or acceptance of the corruption in the hospital. We clearly state that the Minister has been complicit in the acts of impropriety and has himself committed some improprieties. We further state that the Chairman of the Board has neglected her public duty to deal firmly with corruption at that institution and is guilty of protecting the corrupt.

It would seem that the political biases of Ms. DeCaires has allowed her to make the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation an attractive and safe place for corruption, political opportunists and entrenched underachievers.

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia.
Thursday October 3rd, 2002